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Study Links Working Conditions and Employee Suicide in Electronics Sector in China

On November 14, Hong Kong based Economic Rights Institute and Dutch NGO Electronics Watch released a report titled “The Link Between Employment Conditions and Suicide: A Study of the Electronics Sector in China.”

Using original Internet suicide reports, on-site surveys and off-site interviews, the study adopted three methodologies to “show how the employment conditions of some electronics firms in China heighten the risk of employee suicide.”

The report lists the main reasons for suicide, including using the suicide as a form of protest, hostile work environment, pressure from their superiors, withheld income, denied permission to resign or time off, and the fear of losing their jobs. It also pointed to the roles of employers and Chinese government in censoring and minimizing public reports of suicides.

The report suggests the need to:

“End ‘soft’ forms of forced labour, including forced overtime and restrictions of workers’ right to resign from their jobs without forfeiting their wages.

Abolish punitive forms of discipline and intervene effectively to prevent hostility and violence in the workplace.

Empower workers to collectively influence enterprise decisions connected to conditions that heighten risk of employee suicide, including productivity requirements, overtime and the structure of incentives.”

(This briefing serves as a correction of an earlier Chinascope briefing “Survey Shows High Suicide Rate in China’s Electronics Industry” at The earlier briefing, sourced from Radio France International, did not support the statement that “the results showed that the suicide rate is extremely high among Chinese workers in the high-tech electronics industry.” The study also did not discuss a lack of unions or of independent unions as a cause of the suicides.)

Source: Electronics Watch, November 14, 2018