Home Technology World’s largest iPhone factory faces protests

World’s largest iPhone factory faces protests


A file photo of the Apple Inc. logo seen hanging at the entrance to the Apple store on 5th Avenue in Manhattan, New York

A file photo of the Apple Inc. logo seen hanging at the entrance to the Apple store on 5th Avenue in Manhattan, New York
| Photo Credit: Reuters

(This article is part of Today’s Cache, The Hindu’s newsletter on emerging themes at the intersection of technology, innovation and policy. To get it in your inbox, subscribe here.)

Apple supplier Foxconn is facing protests as employees clash with police over delayed pay and working conditions. Zhengzhou, known locally as “iPhone city,” has an estimated 200,000 workers who are engaged in iPhone production.

According to a report by Wall Street Journal, videos were circulating in chat groups of workers. The footages showed chaotic scenes at the factory in Zhengzhou, locally known as the “iPhone city,” where Foxconn assembles most of the world’s latest iPhones.

Protests erupted in the world’s biggest factory after employees came to know that expected bonuses would be delayed. They pulled down tents that were set up outside the facility. Glass entrance doors were smashed as cops clad in hazmat suits tried to control protesting workers.

That Journal noted that Foxconn confirmed the violence was related to concerns over pay for some new workers. The company claimed it always honours contractual obligations and said it will communicate with employees and the government to prevent a repeat of the incident.

Last month, the Cupertino-based company announced it expected lower shipments of its premium iPhone 14 models as a result of disruptions caused by covid lockdowns at the Zhengzhou facility. According to some reports, since October, several workers have escaped from the locked-down facility. This has led to Apple’s supplier promising higher salaries and bonuses to retain staff.

Apple is said to looking to future-proof itself from the disruptions due to government policies in China. It has told its suppliers to actively plan on increasing production outside of China.

Some experts point to the problem in Foxconn’s facility is a result of Apple’s production demands, and that the company should not blame its supplier for what is happening on the ground.

According to the Journal, one recorded video footage had workers shouting “Stand up for your rights!” as they watched columns of water spray over a fire near the gate to a dormitory building.



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