After two suicides were reported yesterday, a report is out saying that Foxconn, the company behind a lot of Apple’s manufacturing, is relaxing its strict and harsh labor rules as a response. According to the report, Foxconn is ending its “mute mode” policy, which restricts employees to only having conversations pertinent to their work in the factory while in the workshop. Supposedly this has been sent via email from the executives down to administrators, who were instructed that all “mute mode” signs be removed from the factory in Zhengzhou, where the suicides occurred. From an unnamed worker:
The atmosphere has changed. The basic-level administrators used to shout at us but, all of a sudden, they start to use language like ‘please keep quiet in the workshop’. This politeness was rarely seen previously.
This change is something that is definitely good, and hopefully something that will continue to be built upon. There’s been plenty of bad press about Foxconn, and in some cases rightfully so, as it has been known for not treating its employees very well. Hopefully this is another stepping stone on the way to better treatment, however.