November 29, 2022

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Men wearing sticks smash security cameras at an iPhone factory in China

Men wearing sticks smash security cameras at an iPhone factory in China

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Men armed with sticks smashed security cameras and windows on a huge campus owned by Apple Inc. (AAPL.O) Foxconn supplier (2317.TW) In the Chinese city of Zhengzhou, scenes broadcast live on the short video platform Kuaishou on Wednesday.

Hundreds of workers protested on campus, home to the world’s largest iPhone factory, with many chanting “Give us our wages.” They were surrounded by people in full protective suits, some of them carrying clubs.

The images, which could not be immediately verified by Reuters, come after weeks of unrest that saw dozens of employees flee the factory over the control of the coronavirus.

Many former workers spoke of food shortages and strict quarantine rules, and Foxconn had to offer incentives including bonuses to retain or lure workers out. Read more

Several people on the livestream said they were protesting after being told this week that they would receive their bonuses later than they were initially promised.

“Foxconn never treats people like people,” a person in social media footage told the viewer.

Two sources familiar with the matter said there were protests at the Zhengzhou campus but declined to give further details.

Foxconn and Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

As of 0515 GMT, most of the footage has been deleted. Kuaishou did not respond to a request for comment.

Some of the videos showed people removing barriers set up for quarantine areas as part of China’s policy not to spread the coronavirus, or arguing with appropriate personnel for hazardous materials.

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Other videos showed workers complaining about the food they were provided while they were in quarantine or complaining that there were not enough restrictions in place to contain the outbreak.

Severe controls and immediate lockdowns across China have stoked discontent across the country, hurting economic growth and heightening concerns about global supply chains as companies struggle to keep factories running as employees become infected.

Foxconn has maintained so-called closed-loop operations at the plant – a system in which employees live and work on site isolated from the wider world – due to the COVID outbreak in Zhengzhou.

The restrictions and discontent affected production, prompting Apple to say earlier this month that it expected shipments of premium iPhone 14 models to decline.

Foxconn, officially Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, is Apple’s largest iPhone manufacturer, accounting for 70% of iPhone shipments globally. Most phones are made in the Zhengzhou factory where it employs about 200,000 people, although it has other smaller production sites in India and southern China.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh and the Beijing Newsroom). Additional reporting by David Kirton in Shenzhen and Weimu Li in Taipei. Editing by Edmund Claman and Edwina Gibbs

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