Whether in line with the national average or not, the recent slate of suicides at Foxconn has been a public relations nightmare not just for the Chinese electronics manufacturer, but for their partners as well.
Now, a report from Chinese site Zol.com.cn suggests that Cupertino might be taking the well-being of their subcontracted workers into their own hands: they claim that Apple will subsidize the wages of Foxconn employees working on their products with a profit-sharing scheme.
According to the article, Apple believes the main reason for the suicide jumps is low wages, and so they are prepared to offer roughly 1 to 2% of the profits of Foxconn-produced Apple products to the employees who have worked on them.
Foxconn has roughly 486,000 employees, with the average wage being around $125 a month. In contrast, Apple’s Q1 Profits were $3.38 Billion. A one percent bonus would then be around $33.8MM: spread evenly across all Foxconn employees, that bonus would result in an additional $23 a month, or roughly a 20% wage increase.
However, once you consider the fact that the number of Foxconn’s global employees dwarfs the number of employees working on Apple’s own products, and that Apple would only subsidize employees working on their products, that number becomes a lot larger… possibly doubling or tripling the salary of Apple’s Foxconn workers.
If true, it’s a generous humanitarian move on the part of Apple, and it would effectively make it the first Fair Trade tech company in the world. There’s something a little too generous about the rumor, though. For now, be skeptical, and hope for the day that APple announces their largesse to their Foxconn subcontractors for themselves.