Zhengzhou, China: Protesters at Foxconn factory clash with police, videos show

Beijing/Hong Kong
CNN Business

Workers at China’s largest iPhone assembly factory were seen confronting police on Wednesday, some in riot gear, according to videos shared on social media.

Videos show hundreds of employees at the Foxconn campus in the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou confronted by law enforcement officials, many in white hazmat suits. In the footage, which has now been blocked, some protesters can be heard complaining about their pay and sanitary conditions.

The sightings come days after Chinese state media reported that more than 100,000 people had signed up to fill advertised positions as part of a massive recruitment drive for Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant.

Apple ( AAPL ) is facing significant supply chain disruptions at an assembly facility and expects iPhone 14 shipments to be affected just as the holiday shopping season begins. CNN has reached out to the company for comment on the plant’s status.

A Covid outbreak last month forced the site to be locked down, prompting some worried factory workers to reportedly flee.

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Videos of scores of people leaving Zhengzhou on foot went viral on Chinese social media in early November, forcing Foxconn to take measures to get its staff back. To try to limit the fallout, the company said it quadrupled daily bonuses for plant workers this month.

On Wednesday, workers were heard on video saying that Foxconn had failed to honor its promise of an attractive bonus and salary package after arriving to work at the plant. A number of complaints have also been posted anonymously on social media platforms – accusing Foxconn of changing previously advertised pay packages.

In a statement in English, Foxconn said on Wednesday that “the allowance has always been fulfilled based on the contractual obligation” after some new recruits at the Foxconn campus in Zhengzhou appealed to the company on Tuesday regarding the work allowance.

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Workers are heard in the video complaining about inadequate anti-Covid measures, saying that workers who test positive are not being separated from the rest of the workforce.

Foxconn said in an English statement that online speculation about Covid-positive employees staying in hostels on the Foxconn campus in Zhengzhou are “patently false.”

“Prior to new hires, the dormitory environment undergoes standard procedures for disinfection, and new employees are only allowed in after passing government inspections,” Foxconn said. said

A search for the word “Foxcon” on Chinese social media now yields few results, indicating heavy censorship.

“Regarding violent behavior, the company will continue to communicate with employees and the government to prevent such incidents from happening again,” Foxconn said in a statement in Chinese.

The Zhengzhou facility is the world’s largest iPhone assembly site. That’s typically about 50% to 60% of Foxconn’s global iPhone assembly capacity, according to Mirko Wojcik, global director of intelligence solutions at Everstream, a provider of supply chain risk analytics.

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Apple earlier this month warned of disruptions to its supply chain, saying customers would feel the impact.

“We now expect lower-than-expected iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max shipments,” the tech giant said in a statement. “Customers will wait longer to receive their new products.”

As of last week, wait times for those models in the United States had reached 34 days, according to a UBS report.

Public frustration is growing under China’s relentless zero-covid policy, which has included strict lockdowns and travel restrictions for nearly three years into the pandemic.

Last week, that sentiment was on display as social media footage showed residents under lockdown in Guangzhou confined to their homes and taking to the streets in defiance of strictly enforced local orders.

— Michelle Toh, Simone McCarthy, Wayne Chang, Juliana Liu, and Kathleen Magramo contributed to this report.


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