The string of deaths has drawn attention to the labor practices of a highly successful Fortune 500 company that has 420,000 workers on its payroll in Shenzhen alone. Two dozen activists protested outside the company's Hong Kong offices on Tuesday, calling on Foxconn to improve working conditions and raise wages. The Taiwan-owned company, which is an arm of the Hon Hai Group, has defended the treatment of its workers. "A lot of things cannot be said at this point, but we are quietly doing our job," CEO Terry Gou told a business forum on Monday. With over 900,000 employees globally in the Hon Hai Group, Gou acknowledged the difficulties of employee management. "But," he said, "we are confident we will get things under control shortly." (See portraits of Chinese workers.)"
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The family of a psychiatric patient who committed suicide by jumping in front of a train has won £10,000 compensation from the NHS Trust on the grounds that it failed to protect her.
Carol Savage, 50, died in July 2004 after she absconded from Runwell Hospital in Essex and walked two miles to Wickford station.
Mrs Savage’s daughter, Anna, started legal proceedings, seeking a declaration and damages under the Human Rights Act, on the basis that South Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust had violated her mother’s right to life under Article 2 of the European Convention.
In a landmark judgment yesterday Mr Justice Mackay, at the High Court in London, ruled in her favour and said that Miss Savage was herself a victim under the Act.
He said: “The defendant Trust ought to have known of the relevant risk and ought to have taken precautions which would substantially have increased the chances of this tragedy being avoided.”
He refused the Trust, which had fought the case all the way to the Law Lords on a preliminary argument, permission to appeal, although it can apply to the Court of Appeal directly.