06/07/2010, 00.00
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Foxconn to raise wages for the third time

After a wave of suicides among employees, Taiwan company raises wages by 65 per cent. Rise is indicative of major shift in China’s workforce.
Shenzhen (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Taiwan-based Foxconn announced that it would raise wages by almost 70 per cent on 1 October. The company, which makes components for Apple, Hewlett-Packard and Dell, has seen a rash of suicides among employees in its Shenzhen plant in recent months.

The company’s founder, Terry Gou, made the announcement. Monthly salaries for workers employed by Foxconn Technology in Shenzhen will go from 1,200 to 2,000 yuan (US$ 290). At the start of May, the basic salary was 900 yuan.

The pay rise was offered to workers who "successfully pass a performance evaluation lasting three months", the firm said. If employees pass the probation, they will be eligible for the increase.

"This wage increase will reduce overtime work as a personal necessity for some employees and make it a personal choice for many workers,” the company added.

The new wage policy, which is similar to that of Honda, is indicative of an important shift in the local workforce.

A new generation of migrant workers, born in the 1980s, is no longer willing to accept slave-like working conditions. High workplace mobility makes it easier for them to quit overtaxing jobs.

Employment among industrial workers has grown in China in the last five months at the highest rate in the past five years. This has raised consciousness among workers of their importance in the production cycle.

These workers belong to the one-child generation and have grown up in an environment where they were indulged by the entire family. Unlike the predecessors, they are unwilling to work only for a salary, but also want a life that is not tied to the assembly line.

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