Foxconn protests: iPhone factory offers to pay its workers to quit and leave Zhengzhou campus


Hong Kong
CNN Business

Foxconn has offered to pay new workers 10,000 yuan ($1,400) to quit and leave the world’s largest iPhone maker, in an attempt to end a strike that has seen hundreds of protests with the stability of the organization in central China.

The Apple retailer made the request on Wednesday after violent protests at its campus in Zhengzhou, Henan province, in a message sent by its human resources department to the employee.

In the message, seen by CNN, the company told employees to “please go back to your hotel” on campus. He also promised to pay 8,000 yuan if they agreed to leave Foxconn, and another 2,000 yuan after they took the bus to leave the giant site.

The protest took place on Tuesday night over the terms of the new employers’ compensation and the Covid impact concerns about their lives. The situation became very violent on Wednesday as the workers clashed in large numbers of security forces, including SWAT team members.

Videos posted on social media showed teams of policemen wearing hazmat suits and beating protesters with batons and iron rods. Some of the workers were seen breaking the fence, throwing bottles and barriers at the police and hitting and smashing police cars.

A group of security guards donned hazmat suits and beat a worker to the ground.

The strike usually ended at 10pm on Wednesday when the workers went back to their hotels, received Foxconn’s payment and feared violence from the police, a the witness told CNN.

The Zhengzhou company was affected by the Covid outbreak in October, which forced it to close and led to the evacuation of many displaced workers. Foxconn after that has launched a massive recruitment drive, in which more than 100,000 people have signed up to fill the job posting, Chinese state media reported.

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According to a salary list of the new employees seen by CNN, the employees were promised an additional 3,000 yuan after 30 days on the job, with another 3,000 yuan to be paid after all 60 days.

However, according to one worker, after arriving at the plant, the new workers were told by Foxconn that they would only receive the first bonus on March 15, and the second in May – meaning they must work through the New Year’s Eve, which begins in January 2023, to receive the first payment.

“New employees have to work long days to get the bonus they were promised, so they feel cheated,” the employee told CNN.

The workers throw away the metal barriers that they destroyed at the police.

In a statement released Thursday, Foxconn said it fully understands the new workers’ concerns about “potential changes in the subsidy policy,” which it blamed on “mistakes ( which) occurred during the initial operation.”

“We apologize for the misunderstanding in the computer and guarantee that the actual payment is the same as agreed,” he said.

Foxconn has communicated with workers and assured them that salaries and bonuses will be paid “according to company policy,” he said.

Apple, for which Foxconn manufactures many products, told CNN Business that its employees were on the ground at the Zhengzhou site.

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“We are reviewing the situation and working with Foxconn to ensure that their employees’ concerns are addressed,” he said in a statement.

On Thursday morning, some of the workers who agreed to walk out received the first part of their pay, an employee said in a press release, which showed the workers were out of work. . to get tested for Covid while they are waiting for the bus to leave. Later that day, the stream saw long lines of bus workers.

But for some, the problem is far from over. After being driven to the Zhengzhou railway station, many people could not get tickets to go home, another official said in a press release on Thursday afternoon. Like him, thousands of workers were stuck at the station, he said, as he turned his camera to show the crowd.

Zhengzhou has scheduled a five-day shutdown in its city center, which includes the railway station, starting at midnight on Friday, authorities announced earlier.

The workers met with hazmat-suited security officers.

The protest began outside workers’ dormitories at the giant Foxconn campus on Tuesday night, with hundreds of people marching and chanting slogans including “Down with Foxconn,” according to videos on social media and eyewitnesses. The video shows workers clashing with security guards and resisting tear gas from police.

The protest was over on Wednesday morning. The situation quickly escalated when a large number of security officers, mostly covered in plain clothes and some holding shields and batons, were sent to the scene. The video showed police cars, some marked with “SWAT,” arriving at the campus, normally home to some 200,000 employees.

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Many workers joined the protest after seeing ads on video platforms Kuaishou and Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, an employee told CNN. Many live broadcasts have been cut or censored. Online searches for “Foxconn” in Chinese are limited.

Some protesters marched to the main entrance of the factory, which is in an area separated from the workers’ dorms, in order to break the assembly line, the person who did work is said.

Other protesters took the further step of breaking into the factory. They broke the Covid tables, glass doors and advertising boards of the restaurants in the production area, according to the employee.

After working at the Zhengzhou plant for six years, he said that he is now very disappointed by Foxconn and plans to resign. With an average salary of 2,300 yuan, he earned from 4,000 yuan to 5,000 yuan a month, including overtime pay, working 10 hours a day and seven days a week while there is an epidemic.

“Foxconn is a Taiwanese company,” he said. “Not only did it not spread Taiwan’s values ​​of independence and freedom to the mainland, it was taken over by the Chinese Communist Party and became cruel and unethical. I am saddened. So much for that.”

Although he is not a new employee, he fought with them in support, adding: “If today I remain silent about the suffering of others, who will speak to me tomorrow?”

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