At the largest iPhone manufacturing plant, the situation is degenerating. Photos and videos show protests and clashes in Zhengzhou. Foxconn, Apple’s subcontractor, confirms “violence”.
Nothing is going well in Zhengzhou, in the largest iPhone factory in the world. Tension has been building for several weeks and a new milestone has just been reached. Hundreds of employees of Foxconn, a famous Apple subcontractor, demonstrated at the start of the week. Photos and videos posted on social networks like Twitter or Weibo bear witness to the situation. We can see a crowd of workers marching in a street, some facing staff in white integration protection suits and riot police.
1/2 Latest from #Foxconn in #iPhone city in #Zhengzhou: Newly energetic workers fiercely fight with security guards as they try to storm out of the factory.
Reason: Foxconn tried to recruit about 100K new workers after a lot escaped a while ago. New workers were told they would pic.twitter.com/XsVzVT7N7r
— Jennifer Zeng 曾錚 (@jenniferzeng97) November 22, 2022
Another video clip shows dozens of employees shouting “Let’s defend our rights!” » in front of police officers and a police vehicle. Other images and videos are making the rounds on the web, including one in which the author indicates “They are charging!” » And “Tear gas bombs!” ».
Why are the workers rebelling?
Since October, the world’s largest iPhone factory has been facing an increase in Covid-19 cases. Chinese policy has pushed Foxconn, which owns this giant factory where 200,000 people work, to implement containment. A situation which did not please many workers who tried to escape from the factory, climbing the fences. Others did not hesitate to walk dozens of kilometers to escape these measures.
For its part, Foxconn tried to reassure authorities and employees. She proposed bonuses to keep them, so that production continues and while the end of the year is an important period for its client Apple. However, the situation does not seem to be improving and Foxconn acknowledges workers have complained about wages and working conditions in the factory. There BBC reports that employees are concerned about the non-payment of bonuses promised by the company.
“They changed the contract so we couldn’t get the bonus like they promised. They quarantine us but don’t provide us with food”, says a Foxconn employee. And to add: “If they don’t meet our needs, we will continue to fight”. This same person adds that they have a man ” Severly injured “ after being beaten by the police.
— Inty (@__Inty__) November 23, 2022
A staff member confirms that “Protesting workers want to get a subsidy and go home”.
“You send us to death”
Other employees assure that the Zhengzhou factory forces them to live with Covid-19. “I don’t know the exact reason why people are protesting, but they are mixing new workers with old ones who were positive (for Covid)”, explains a new recruit. The media Bloomberg also discusses the affair and reports several damning testimonies, taken from videos published online. “I’m really scared of this place, we could all be Covid positive now”indicates a worker while another declares: “You send us to death”.
WARNING: Graphic Content. Hundreds of workers at Apple’s main iPhone plant in China clashed with security staff after being locked up for weeks to quash a Covid outbreak.
— Bloomberg Technology (@technology) November 23, 2022
Foxconn defends itself for having accommodated employees with Covid-19 positive staff. The Taiwanese company, however, confirms “violence” in its Chinese factory. For his part, Apple has not spoken on its new events which could tarnish its image.