Protests break out at Foxconn iPhone factory over delayed pay bonuses

The protests reflect ongoing tension at the factory in Zhengzhou, China which has also been facing new COVID-19 restrictions.


Hundreds of workers have reportedly joined ongoing protests at Foxconn’s iPhone factory in Zhengzhou, China due to a delay in bonus payments. As reported by outlets like CNBC, workers have been spotted smashing surveillance cameras and windows and chanting things like “give us our pay!” outside the factory while surrounded by people in hazmat suits.

The reason for the presence of hazmat suits is tied to new COVID-19 restrictions recently put in place at the Zhengzhou factory. As noted by CNBC, the protests reflect growing levels of frustration and stress among workers due to factors like the country’s strict COVID rules and the way in which Foxconn has been handling the situation.

For example, workers have reported instances where they’ve been forced to share dormitories with colleagues who’d tested positive for COVID-19. However, Foxconn denies this in its statement addressing the matter, claiming that reports of things like COVID-19 positive workers in dormitories are “untrue” while remarking that it had fulfilled its payment contracts.

“The rare scenes of open dissent in China mark an escalation of unrest at the massive factory in Zhengzhou city that has come to symbolize a dangerous build-up in frustration with the country’s ultra-harsh COVID rules as well as inept handling of the situation by the world’s largest contract manufacturer,” reads the CNBC report.

Factory workers dressed in white sitting in a row assembling devices
© VCG, Global Times

Outside of protests, thousands of workers have also reportedly fled the campus according to statements from former Foxconn workers. Reasons cited for this include the company’s strict quarantine rules, “closed loop system” forcing staff to live and work on site in isolation, inability to quell outbreaks, and poor living conditions including a shortage of food.

Speaking to CNBC, one source familiar with the circumstances at the Zhengzhou factory asserted that production has been unaffected by worker protests and that output remains normal. They also claim that the “eagerness of local authorities to recruit workers may have played a role in causing ‘miscommunication’ with new hires on issues including allowance and accommodation.”

Meanwhile, a secondary source told CNBC that Foxconn is unlikely to hit its production targets as a result of disruptions from worker protests, particularly when it comes to getting new recruits set up. “Originally, we were trying to see if the new recruits could go online by the end of November,” the unnamed source told CNBC. “But with the unrest, it’s certain that we can’t resume normal production by the month-end.”

For more on the Foxconn iPhone factory protests, be sure to read through the full report from CNBC. Also check out some of our previous coverage including Apple (AAPL) warning that iPhone supply could be hurt by new COVID restrictions at Foxconn, and Apple iPhone manufacturer Foxconn weighing the idea of manufacturing Tesla EVs in the future.

Senior Editor

Morgan is a writer from the frozen wastelands of Maine who enjoys metal music, kpop, horror, and indie games. They're also a Tetris fanatic who's fiercely competitive in games like Tetris 99... and all games in general. But mostly Tetris. You can follow Morgan on Twitter @Author_MShaver.

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