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Foxconn suicides: Why higher pay won't work

Analysis: China's growing labor problems run deeper than a few yuan.

“While this very often brings about the desired result — higher pay — it is clearly not an ideal situation,” he said.

Liu Kaiming, a former journalist who now runs an organization for migrant workers in Shenzhen, said raising salaries is far short of what workers need.

Basic increases in pay will help factory workers catch up in inflation, but won’t address underlying problems in the Chinese manufacturing model. Liu said in instances like Foxconn’s, companies need to change their management practices and listen to the concerns of workers. (See how one electronics company had success by listening to its employees). Liu said factories need to consider factors other than simply making goods for the lowest possible price to extract the highest profits.

“They should treat the workers as people, not money-making machines,” said Liu.