The beginning of a social movement? Workers at the Foxconn factory near Zhengzhou, China, were seen protesting around the buildings. The premises are home to the largest iPhone factory in the world. Numerous videos and photos posted on social media show employees confronting the company’s security personnel.
According Bloomberg, which reports the information, Foxconn workers came out of the company’s dormitories very early on Wednesday, November 23, 2022. The workers then allegedly jostled the factory’s security personnel. Clashes have taken place on the spot in recent hours, as evidenced by live videos broadcast by our colleagues. Barricades were erected around the company. Several collaborators would have been struck by the vigils of Foxconn. Injuries would be to be deplored, without a precise assessment for the moment.
The demonstrators denounce unpaid wages, in particular the non-payment of bonuses promised by the management of the group. The company’s health policy linked to Covid is also pointed out. Employees complain of unworthy working conditions and insufficient meals.
“They [Foxconn] changed the contract so we couldn’t receive the bonus they promised. They quarantine us but don’t provide us with food“, denounces an employee of the Taiwanese group relayed by the BBC. According to another testimony, the management of the factory mixed “new workers with old ones who were positive at the [Covid].”
Asked about the situation, Foxconn assures that it continues to “communicate with workers and the government to prevent this [les manifestations] does not happen again.“
An untenable health policy
This beginning of a social movement comes as the Zhengzhou factory falls victim to the Chinese government’s zero Covid policy. Since the beginning of October, employees have been confined to the company in order to limit the spread of the virus. Meals are rationed and working conditions are deteriorating day by day. At the end of October, the factory had already made the rounds of the media after a large number of employees were seen fleeing the premises. Videos of employees climbing the walls to escape these hellish conditions had leaked on social networks.
The Foxconn factory in Zhengzhou produces the majority of iPhones marketed worldwide. The latest events had led the group to slow down the production of smartphones for lack of personnel. In order to speed up the pace, the management, in conjunction with the Chinese authorities, had taken a drastic measure, calling on army veterans to participate in the manufacture of the telephones.
Faced with the multiplication of these disappointments, Apple announced in early November delays in the worldwide production of iPhone. The demonstrations on Wednesday could further extend the deadlines to a few weeks before Christmas.