A dissident website is reporting that 300 employees at a plant in China that makes the Xbox 360 threatened earlier this month to commit mass suicide after being denied promised compensation.
The report in anti-government website China Jasmine Revolution (via Want China Times), claims that the protest took place Jan. 2 at a Foxconn plant in Wuhan, China. A tragedy was avoided after the town's mayor got involved and talked the workers out of their threat, the report said. (Another website, Record China, reports that the incident resulted in a plant shutdown.
In addition to Microsoft, Foxconn also builds iPhones, iPods, and MacBooks for Apple. Dell and Hewlett Packard have also sourced products from Foxconn.
In a comment to the website Kotaku, a spokesman for Microsoft said:
"Microsoft takes working conditions in the factories that manufacture its products very seriously, and we are currently investigating this issue. We have a stringent Vendor Code of Conduct that spells out our expectations, and we monitor working conditions closely on an ongoing basis and address issues as they emerge. Microsoft is committed to the fair treatment and safety of workers employed by our vendors, and to ensuring conformance with Microsoft policy."
Over the years, several articles have reported the existence of bleak working conditions at Foxconn. However, Foxconn parent Hon Hai Precision Industries has repeatedly denied forcing employees to work long hours for low pay under stressful conditions. Still, in 2010, 14 Foxconn workers committed suicide amid complaints about the working conditions. (There were reports that Foxconn employees were being required to sign contracts promising not to commit suicide.)