CHINESE ELECTRONICS MAKER Foxconn has announced that it intends to deploy one million robots over the next three years.
Foxconn, which makes electronics products for Apple, Nokia and Sony among many others, employs 10,000 people. However Terry Gou, Foxconn's CEO chose a "worker's dance party" to announce that many of them could end up out of work thanks to his plan to introduce one million robots within the next three years. The robots will be used to do "simple and routine work" including spraying, welding and assembly.
Last year Foxconn faced widespread criticism following suicides of workers and reports of terrible working conditions. The negative press shamed the company into raising wages, though now that looks like nothing more than a catalyst to get rid of a lot of staff altogether.
Gou said that the reason behind Foxconn's decision to invest in robots was due to increasing labour rates and a desire to increase efficiency. Essentially by paying his staff a fair wage, Gou has priced them out of the market.
Foxconn said that it will stagger the deployment of robots with 300,000 in 2012 and one million by 2014. There was no word on what would happen to the company's workers, but our guess is that their severance pay might cover their bus fare home and not much else. µ