Foxconn’s largest iPhone factory in Zhengzhou, China has been hit by worker protests including violent clashes, Bloomberg reported. Videos show hundreds of workers marching and confronting a manager, as well as several instances of violence. According to videos posted on Weibo and seen by Engadget Chinese, employees are upset with fewer benefits and longer waiting times for bonuses.
A clip shows workers shouting “Defend our rights! Defend our rights!” while confronting the police, while another shows a group of employees surrounding a manager in a conference room. In the latter, one person says “I’m really scared of this place, we could all be COVID positive”, while another adds “you’re sending us to death”.
Other videos show individuals in white suits attacking someone with sticks, and workers surrounding and shaking a busy police vehicle. In several clips, workers complained of never being sure of receiving meals and of inadequate COVID protections. News agencies, including Reuters have yet to verify the authenticity of some of the videos, however.
With COVID-19 outbreaks continuing, Foxconn implemented strict “closed-loop” quarantine rules, requiring staff to work and live on-site, isolated from the outside world. “It is now clear that closed-loop production at Foxconn only helps prevent the spread of COVID in the city, but does nothing (except make matters worse) for the factory workers” , said a Hong Kong advocacy group. Reuters. Thousands of workers may have fled the factory campus, other employees say, forcing Foxconn to offer bonuses and higher wages to retain staff.
Foxconn drastically cut iPhone production at the same factory last month due to COVID concerns, forcing Apple to announce that iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max shipments would be delayed. The company’s Zhengzhou factory is the world’s largest iPhone factory with 200,000 workers responsible for 70% of the devices’ production.
Update 11/23/2022 6:14 a.m. ET: The post originally said the protests were sparked by food shortages, but other documents later seen by the Chinese in Engadget suggest it was more related to other factors such as reduced benefits and longer wait times for bonuses. The post has been edited with the updated information.
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