SHANGHAI, Nov 23 – Men wielding sticks smashed surveillance cameras and windows at Apple’s massive compound. (AAPL.O) Supplier Foxconn (2317.TW) In the Chinese city of Zhengzhou, the footage was shown live on the Kuaishou short video platform on Wednesday.
Hundreds of workers protested at the site of the world’s largest iPhone factory. They were surrounded by people in full hazmat suits, some carrying batons.
The images, which Reuters could not immediately verify, come after weeks of turmoil that saw scores of workers leave the factory due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Many former workers spoke of food shortages and strict quarantine rules, and that Foxconn had to offer incentives, including bonuses, to retain or lure workers. read more
After being told this week that they would receive the bonus later than initially promised, many on the livestream feeds protested.
“Foxconn never treats people like people,” one person said in footage posted on social media.
Two sources familiar with the matter said there were protests at the Zhengzhou campus, but declined to provide further details.
Foxconn and Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
By 0515 GMT, most of the footage had been removed. Kwaisho did not respond to a request for comment.
Some videos showed people removing barriers set up in quarantine areas as part of China’s zero-covid policy, or arguing with hazmat appropriate personnel.
Other videos showed workers complaining about the food they were given while in quarantine or complaining that there were insufficient controls to contain the outbreak.
Relentless restrictions and spot lockdowns across China have fueled discontent across the country, hit economic growth and raised concerns about global supply chains as companies struggle to keep factories running as workers suffer.
Foxconn has maintained so-called closed-loop operations at the plant — a system where employees live and work in isolation from the wider world — since the outbreak of Covid in Zhengzhou.
The bans and discontent have hit production, prompting Apple to say earlier this month that it expects lower shipments of premium iPhone 14 models.
Foxconn, formally Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, is Apple’s largest iPhone maker, accounting for 70% of iPhone shipments worldwide. It makes most of its phones at its Zhengzhou plant, which employs 200,000 people, although it has other smaller manufacturing sites in India and southern China.
Reporting by Brenda Ko and Beijing Newsroom; Additional reporting by David Kirton in Shenzhen and Yimo Lee in Taipei; Editing by Edmund Claman and Edwina Gibbs
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