One Million Robots to Take Over Jobs of Foxconn Workers

Posted by Cartri on Aug 7, 2011 in IT Workers Rights |
12:00 AM – August 7, 2011 by Jane McEntegart
source: Xinhua News Agency

Foxconn aims to use one million robots in three years time as part of an effort to tackle rising labor costs.

Foxconn’s employment practices often make the news and the company last week hit the headlines once again. This time, it’s the company’s intention to use robots to replace some of its staff that has chins wagging. Xinhua News Agency cites Foxconn founder and chairman Terry Gou as saying the company plans to replace a portion of its staff with one million robots to cut rising labor expenses and improve efficiency. According to Xinhua, Foxconn currently uses 10,000 robots. the electronics giant aims to up this number to 300,000 next year and one million in three years time.

Foxconn currently employs over 900,000 people in its factories. Gou says the robots will be performing simple tasks such as spraying, welding and assembling. These are all tasks currently carried out by human employees.

Reuters cites Gartner analyst C.K. Lu who says thanks to sharply rising employment costs, Foxconn essentially has no choice but to replace workers with robots.

“Rising salary costs should be the key reason why Foxconn is doing this. This year’s wage increase has been quite significant and I don’t expect the pace to slow down next year,” Lu said, adding, “If they don’t do this, they will have to move their factories elsewhere.”

Foxconn & Brazil:

Foxconn is willing to invest 12Billion U$ in new factories in Brazil, besides the controversious speechs of Foxconn’s CEO Terry Gou earlier this year. According to WSJ:

crt_honhai_D_20110413171103.jpg

Mr. Gou—a blunt-spoken 60-year-old—was less than enamored of Brazil’s qualifications as a major manufacturing hub. In September, during a nearly three-hour interview with The Wall Street Journal at Hon Hai’s enormous factory complex in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, Mr. Gou ridiculed the notion that Brazil could in any way rival China’s strength in manufacturing:

Then there’s Brazil. Brazilian workers’ wages are very high. But Brazilians, as soon as they hear “soccer,” they stop working. And there’s all the dancing. It’s crazy… So Brazil is okay [as a place to manufacture] for the local market. Brazil has great minerals. And it’s got the great Amazon river, so it has good hydropower. But if you want to ship things to the U.S., it takes more time and more money to ship from Brazil (than from China).

Personal comment:

It looks like Mr. Gou, besides not liking soccer, dancing, and workers’ basic rights, as shown in the 14 suicide cases in 2010 inside his chinese factories has also no talent for basic diplomacy, having made in trhe same day similar declarations about India and Russia.

As a Brazilian who does not care about soccer (as many others), I have to say that is sad to see another “innovation” gaffe comming from foxconn’s ruthless leader.

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