Huge Foxconn iPhone plant in China rocked by fresh worker unrest

  • Images online show hundreds of workers protesting
  • CCTV cameras and windows were broken by men with sticks
  • Workers complain about delayed payments, insufficient food

SHANGHAI/TAIPEI, Nov 23 (Reuters) – Images uploaded to social media showed hundreds of workers joining protests at Foxconn’s ( 2317.TW ) flagship iPhone factory in China, with some men breaking surveillance cameras and glass.

In rare scenes of open dissent in China, unrest at a giant factory in the city of Zhengzhou has signaled a dangerous build-up in frustration over the country’s ultra-tough Covid laws and its mishandling of the situation. The world’s largest contract manufacturer

Many demonstrators on the live feed said the impetus for the protests, which began early Wednesday, appeared to be a plan to delay bonus payments. Reuters could not immediately verify the videos.

According to footage from a video, workers surrounded by people in full bathing suits chanted: “Pay us!” Other images show tear gas being used and workers removing quarantine barriers.

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Dissatisfaction with strict quarantine rules, the company’s inability to prevent disease outbreaks and poor conditions including food shortages have caused workers to flee factory grounds as Apple’s ( AAPL.O ) supplier implemented a so-called closed-loop system at its largest factory. The world company applied. iPhone factory in late October.

Under closed-loop operations, employees live and work in locations isolated from the wider world.

Former workers estimated that thousands fled the factory premises. Before the unrest, the Zhengzhou factory had about 200,000 employees. Foxconn has been forced to offer higher bonuses and salaries to retain employees and attract more workers.

In the videos, workers expressed how they were never sure if they would eat in quarantine or complained that there were not enough restrictions to contain the spread of disease.

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One person says: “Faxcon never treats people like people.

Two sources familiar with the matter said there were protests at the Zhengzhou campus, but declined to elaborate. They declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Foxconn and Apple did not respond to requests for comment.

China Labor Bulletin’s Aiden Chow of Hengha, “It is now clear that closed-loop production at Foxconn will only help prevent the spread of Covid to the city, but do nothing (if not worse) for the factory workers.” The Kong-based advocacy group said in an email.

As of Wednesday afternoon, most of the videos on Kwaishu, a social media platform where Reuters reviewed many of the videos, had been removed. Kwaishu did not respond to a request for comment.

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The protest images come as investors worry about worsening global supply chain issues, partly due to China’s zero-covid policies aimed at containing the pandemic.

Restrictions and grievances have hit production. Reuters reported last month that iPhone production at the Zhengzhou plant could be cut by 30% in November due to restrictions caused by Covid-19. Read more

Foxconn is Apple’s largest iPhone maker, accounting for 70 percent of iPhone shipments worldwide. The company makes most of its phones in its Zhengzhou factory, although it has other smaller production sites in India and southern China.

Shares in Foxconn, officially called Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, have fallen 2 percent since the unrest in late October.

Reporting by Brenda Gu and Beijing Newsroom. Additional reporting by David Kerton in Shenzhen, Yimo Li in Taipei and Yu Lun Tian. By Anne Marie Rowantree; Edited by Edwina Gibbs

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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