Workers are becoming more and more frustrated in the industrial zone located near Chengzhou, the capital of China’s Henan province, which has been quarantined since the beginning of October according to the strict COVID19 protocol of the local authorities. Among other things, the largest production plant of the world’s largest contract manufacturer Foxconn, employing around 200,000 workers, operates in the zone, where, according to news agency reports, the situation has become extremely tense.
A Reuters According to unverified footage obtained by the company, hundreds of angry Foxconn workers marched to the factory district’s office buildings armed with sticks on Wednesday morning. Disgruntled workers broke glass and smashed security cameras during the unrest, which is quite unusual in China, while other footage showed security officers in chemical suits and wielding rubber batons surrounding the protesters. Other images revealed that tear gas may have been used during the riot.
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The situation escalated dramatically after word spread among workers that Foxconn was not paying their bonuses on time. The company previously promised the workers in quarantine significantly increased extra benefits compared to the previous wage scale in order to ensure that the production volume does not decrease dramatically in the period when it would be most necessary to ramp up production.
The company management decided to try to get the workers to stay with extra benefits after several thousand escaped from the quarantine zone due to the inhumane conditions. The management of Henan province tried to replace the workers who lost their jobs with demobilized soldiers and officials transferred from other provinces.
Roughly 70% of the iPhone smartphones intended for the world market are produced in Foxconn’s complex in Chengdu, and the riots and the loss of production therefore hurt Apple the most among the major customers. According to previous estimates, the production volume of iPhones may decrease by 30% in November, which may lead to a serious shortage of stock in the case of some devices – the more expensive members of the latest generation iPhone 14 series have now become practically unobtainable, and there is a good chance that deliveries will only normalize at the beginning of next year.
Apart from the inconvenience caused by the coronavirus, working for Apple’s contract manufacturers is not necessarily a dream come true, even in Asian terms. In India, in December 2020, a Wistron plant that also manufactures iPhones was practically destroyed by disgruntled workers, while two partners, Pegatron and Foxconn, which is also involved in the current case, had to start an awkward explanation regarding overtime and underpaid student workers.
Source: HWSW Informatikai Hírmagazin by www.hwsw.hu.
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