300 workers at a Foxconn factory in China have threatened mass suicide last week, according to reports by the Record China and Want China Times.
The threats were said to be over a payment dispute at the factory which manufactures Xbox 360s. Workers at the factory had reportedly asked for pay raise on 2 January this year, however were rejected by the electronics contract manufacturer.
According to the reports, Foxconn told workers that they can either quit with compensation or keep their jobs without a raise. Those that quit reportedly did not receive compensation.
It is not confirmed whether the mass suicide threats took place at Foxconn Technology Park in Wuhan, China or whether the factory is even a manufacturer of Xbox 360s.
The Taiwanese manufacturer, which has the bulk manufacturing load is done in mainland China, has had string of major labour issues in the past, including wage disputes and worker suicides. 17 workers are reported to have committed suicide in the last five years.
In August last year, Foxconn announced that it will install 300,000 robots by 2012 and 1 million robots in use within three years to achieve low-cost production across it factories.
The decision attracted mixed opinions with some analysts saying that the company is leading the way in adopting automation technology for low-cost production in Asia. While others viewed the decision as a significant investment by the company to rid itself of the labour issues which has long pervaded its factories.
Foxconn Technology Group assembles electronics products for companies, including Apple, Sony, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Nokia. It employs approximately 1.2 million people, with 1 million based in China.