Foxconn Shuts India Plant after 250 Workers Hospitalized

Half of workforce affected

Taiwan's troubled IT giant Foxconn has suspended operations at a factory in India after 250 workers were hospitalized in an incident thought to be linked to spraying of pesticide.

Work at the facility in Chennai, southern India, was halted on July 26 and is expected to resume in about a week, Foxconn said. It said the incident took place on July 23 last week and that some workers had "experienced sensations of giddiness and nausea."

While the problem was being investigated, it "may have been caused by the routine spraying of pesticide at the production facility," Foxconn said.

The company said 250 workers -- about half the workforce -- had been hospitalized, however all but 28 had been released after treatment, with the remainder remaining under observation in hospital.

It comes as Foxconn, whose parent Hon Hai is a major supplier for Apple and other electronics giants, has been hit by a series of suicides at production facilities in China that have damaged the company's reputation.

A total of 11 Chinese employees have committed suicide this year at Foxconn plants by jumping from buildings, including 10 in the southern Chinese town of Shenzhen. Another worker at a Foxconn affiliate died last week after falling from a dormitory.

The company has said none of the deaths were directly work-related and that it has been cleared by Chinese authorities of any wrongdoing.

Foxconn announced last month it would hike monthly salaries for assembly line workers in Shenzhen by nearly 70% to 2,000 yuan (US$295) from October 1 to help stem the problems.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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