Workers at China’s biggest iPhone assembly plant were seen confronting police on Wednesday, some with riot gear, according to videos shared on social media.
Records show hundreds of workers clashing with police, many in white protective suits, at Foxconn’s campus in the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou. In the images, now blocked, you can hear some of the protesters complaining about their wages and sanitary conditions.
The scenes come days after Chinese state media reported that 100,000 people had filled vacancies advertised as part of a major recruitment campaign held for Foxconn’s factory in Zhengzhou.
Apple has been facing significant supply chain constraints at the assembly facility and expects iPhone 14 shipments to hit once the main holiday shopping season begins. THE CNN contacted the company to comment on the situation at the factory.
A Covid-19 outbreak last month forced the site to close, prompting some anxious workers to flee.
Videos of many people leaving Zhengzhou on foot went viral on Chinese social media in early November, forcing Foxconn to step up measures to recover its staff. To try to limit the fallout, the company said it quadrupled daily bonuses for factory workers this month.
On Wednesday, workers were heard on video saying that Foxconn had failed to deliver on its promise of an attractive bonus and pay package after they arrived to work at the factory. Numerous complaints were also posted anonymously on social media platforms — accusing Foxconn of having changed previously announced salary packages.
In an English-language statement, Foxconn said on Wednesday that “the subsidy has always been met on the basis of contractual obligation” after some new hires at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou campus appealed to the company regarding the labor subsidy on Tuesday.
Workers were also heard in the videos complaining about insufficient anti-Covid measures, saying workers who tested positive were not being separated from the rest of the workforce.
Foxconn said in the English-language statement that online speculation about Covid-positive employees living in dormitories on Foxconn’s Zhengzhou campus is “clearly false”.
“Prior to the arrival of new hires, the dormitory environment undergoes standard disinfection procedures, and only after the premise passes government verification can new employees move in,” Foxconn said.
Searches for the term “Foxconn” on Chinese social media now yield few results, an indication of heavy censorship.
“Regarding violent behavior, the company will continue to communicate with employees and the government to prevent similar incidents from happening again,” Foxconn said in a Chinese-language statement.
The world’s biggest iPhone plant was rocked by violence as police beat workers with lipsticks during protests at Foxconn’s facility in Zhengzhou, China #WSJWhatsNow https://t.co/4pVeHfrs2Q pic.twitter.com/ISa59OVaXn
—The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) November 23, 2022
a vital center
The Zhengzhou facility is the world’s largest iPhone assembly site. It typically accounts for approximately 50% to 60% of Foxconn’s global iPhone assembly capacity, according to Mirko Woitzik, global director of intelligence solutions at Everstream, a provider of supply chain risk analytics.
Apple warned earlier this month of the disruption to its supply chain, saying customers will feel a hit.
“We now expect smaller iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max shipments than we previously anticipated,” the tech giant said in a statement. “Customers will have longer wait times to receive their new products.”
Until last week, the waiting time for these models reached 34 days in the United States, according to a report by UBS.
Public frustration has been mounting under China’s relentless Covid-zero policy, which continues to involve strict lockdowns and travel restrictions nearly three years after the pandemic began.
Last week, that sentiment was on display when social media footage showed residents under lockdown in Guangzhou tearing down barriers meant to confine them to their homes and taking to the streets in defiance of strictly enforced local orders.
More footage being shared on social media, said to have been of the fresh clashes between #foxconn workers and the authorities, appears to reflect the on ongoing #ZeroCovid tensions at the world’s largest factory for #apple iPhones. #China pic.twitter.com/zFCmanQQvp
— Stephen McDonell (@StephenMcDonell) November 23, 2022
— Michelle Toh, Simone McCarthy, Wayne Chang, Juliana Liu, and Kathleen Magramo contributed to this story.
Source: CNN Brasil