Chinese labour arbitrators have ruled against the family of a Foxconn worker who suffered brain-damage in a factory accident in Shenzhen.
According to Reuters, Foxconn told the family of Zhang Tingzhen, a 26-year-old engineer who had to have half of his brain removed following an electrical accident in October 2011, that they had to remove him from hospital in Shenzhen and submit him for disability assessment in Huizhou, where the firm said he was originally hired, or funds for his treatment and rehabilitation would be cut off.
If Zhang was shown to have been hired in Huizhou, where wages and compensation levels are significantly lower than in Shenzhen, Foxconn’s liability in the case would be substantially reduced. The worker’s father, Zhang Guangde, took Foxconn to the arbitration office in October, insisting that his son had been hired in Shenzhen.
In official documents seen on Friday by Reuters, the Shenzhen labor dispute arbitration committee ruled against the father. It said the company had produced a contract dated Aug 4, 2011, showing that the young engineer was hired by its Huizhou facility.
It added that at the time of the injury, the young Zhang was an employee of the Huizhou facility who had been sent to its Shenzhen facility for training.
Zhang will appeal the decision, but the attention paid to the case in both domestic and foreign media may already have made that a moot point. Foxconn representatives told Reuters:
“As we have reassured the family in the past, the place of Mr. Zhang’s employment has no impact on the level of support that our company will be providing Mr. Zhang and his family during his current rehabilitation or as part of any long-term care.”
Foxconn has said that it will now permit Zhang to be assessed for disability allowances in the Shenzhen plant.
Labour activists say that it is common for large firms to officially hire employees in the Chinese interior, where wages and benefits are lower, and then move them to factories in the busy industrial zones in South East China.