Violent clashes broke out in the largest iPhone factory in the world and a total closure was imposed
Pictures spread on social media showed that workers at Apple’s largest iPhone factory in central China clashed with riot police due to difficult living conditions as a result of the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic.
A series of videos posted on websites including Weibo, as well as on live-streaming apps Kuaishou and Douyin, revealed hundreds of workers swarming from their dormitory buildings in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province dubbed “iPhone City”.
The site belongs to Taiwan-based Foxconn, which hired tens of thousands of temporary assembly line employees last week after a poorly managed COVID outbreak led to a mass exodus at its factory, where more than 200,000 workers built devices for Apple. and technical products for their ilk. Google, Microsoft and Amazon.
The iPhone factory is facing a major crisis due to Covid 19
The disruptions caused by sudden lockdowns across China, including the city of Zhengzhou, have severely strained Apple’s ability to meet demand for the latest iPhone 14 models.
Footage shared on Twitter showed widespread protests that broke out suddenly and have continued today. Crowds of workers were seen crossing roadblocks and running into officers wearing protective gear and carrying riot shields.
Videos showed that a number of protesters were isolated in the streets and beaten by riot police sent to restore order, but it has not been verified when and where they were filmed.
According to the content of the videos, Foxconn workers went on strike after being put into overcrowded bedrooms with little segregation despite the ongoing COVID outbreak. Poor food quality and non-fulfillment of bonus payments were also issues.
The rioters protested at having to work alongside allegedly infected individuals, their concerns apparently stemming not from fear of infection, but from the prospect of non-payment of wages if they tested positive and were forced into quarantine.
Violent protests at the iPhone factory
Foxconn confirmed “violence” at its Zhengzhou industrial park in a public statement, and said it would communicate with its employees and the government to “prevent similar incidents from happening again.”
He said all remuneration will be met according to the employment contracts and denied healthy and injured workers an arrangement to stay in the same living quarters. She added that the dormitories were disinfected and inspected by the government before new staff moved in.
Zero COVID is Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s signature public health strategy, a policy that kept the virus at bay for two years but was stress-tested in 2022 by a highly transmissible Omicron variant.
Those concerns contributed to thousands of Foxconn workers choosing to flee the factory, many on foot, since late October. And the chaos in Zhengzhou, where 70 percent of the world’s iPhones are made, directly threatened Apple’s supplies.
“COVID-19 restrictions have temporarily affected the primary iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max assembly facility located in Zhengzhou, China,” the Cupertino tech giant said in early November.
Apple has already begun diversifying its supply chain towards India, wary of losing one of the largest customers in the province. And officials in Henan have enrolled tens of thousands of local cadres, including lower-level Communist Party officials from nearby villages and towns, to help fill the manpower gap.
Yang Han, CEO of Foxconn, said more than 100,000 people responded to the recruitment drive. “The next step is still to maintain proper epidemic prevention in the industrial area,” he said. It was a difficult period,” she said, noting that the company was “grateful to the government.”
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