Another Foxconn worker falls to death in China

BEIJING, November  5, 2010 (AFP) - A male worker died Friday in an apparent suicide at a plant in southern China run by Taiwan's high-tech giant Foxconn, the firm and state media said -- the 11th such death this year at the factory.

The worker died after falling from a building at Foxconn's massive complex in the city of Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong, Xinhua news agency said.

A company spokesperson said the 23-year-old -- who had worked at Foxconn for eight months -- was found dead outside his dormitory in the early hours of Friday, adding that police were investigating the case with Foxconn's help.

The death resembled 10 other suicides carried out earlier this year at the factory, which employs an estimated 400,000 people.

At least 13 employees of Foxconn -- the world's largest maker of computer components, which produces goods for Apple, Sony and Nokia -- have died in similar circumstances this year, according to the official Global Times.

Labour rights activists have blamed the suicides at Foxconn on tough working conditions in its factories, highlighting the difficulties faced by millions of factory workers across the country.

Following the spate of suicides, Foxconn raised wages by nearly 70 percent at its China plants earlier this year.

But in a recent survey, researchers questioned 1,736 Foxconn workers at plants in nine cities and found they worked an average of 83.2 hours overtime a month, more than twice the maximum 36 hours allowed under Chinese law, the China Business News said last month.

Workers also claimed Foxconn skimped on overtime payments, forced student interns to work more than the statutory eight hours a day and provided inadequate medical check-ups for employees exposed to poisonous and harmful substances, the report said.

Foxconn refuted the accusations and said it was working to improve the conditions for its workers.