Labour activists protest Foxconn meeting in Taiwan

TAIPEI - Labour activists Tuesday held protests outside the annual general meeting of Taiwanese IT giant Foxconn, which has faced criticism after a spate of suicides in its Chinese factories. Hon Hai Precision Industry Co's shareholders were gathering just a day after Foxconn unveiled a plan to hike the salaries of its assembly line workers in southern China by 70 percent.

The company's shares fell heavily on the Taiwan Stock Exchange Tuesday, falling 6.38 percent by mid-morning, as investors continued to absorb news of its salary hike. The shares ended Monday down 5.62 percent.

While some activists assembled outside the venue in Taipei chanted slogans, a group performed a skit in which three chained workers were struck down by a fourth representing Foxconn.

Foxconn, which makes products for US-based Apple and other top brands, has rejected comparisons of its Chinese factories to sweatshops.

The company made a surprise announcement Monday that it will increase the monthly salary for its assembly line workers in Shenzhen to 2,000 yuan (S$415) from October 1.

Foxconn's 59-year-old founder Terry Gou, one of Taiwan's best-known entrepreneurs, said the wage rise was meant to "safeguard the dignity of workers".