Foxconn hopes higher wages will prevent worker suicides

China's Foxconn, the world's largest contract electronics maker, announced late last week that it will raise salaries of its workers in China by about 20 per cent to stifle criticism on its working conditions that has possibly led to a string of suicides by its workers.

"It is not because of the suicides," said Foxconn spokesperson Edmund Ding outside the factory gates at the company's massive Longhau factory in the southern industrial city of Shenzhen, "The discussion has been going on for a long time."

To stem the suicides by workers leaping to their deaths from the Chinese mainland factories of Taiwanese electronics company Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, operating in China as Foxconn, the management at Foxconn has also deployed anti-suicide nets at its Longhau factory on Saturday.

Taipei County, Taiwan-based Hon Hai is the world's largest electronics contract manufacturer and employs 800,000 people on the Chinese mainland with 300,000 people working in the walled-in industrial park of its Longhau factory.

It is dubbed as one of the worlds's most isolated and secretive companies, churning out products for Nintendo, Apple, Nokia, Sony, Hewlett Packard and Dell.

Labour activists from Hong Kong have accused the company of having an extremely fast assembly line, employees forced to work excess overtime, a rigid management style and harsh discipline imposed on employees that many people believe stems out of chairman Terry Gou's past military exposure.