Hundreds of workers joined protests at Foxconn’s flagship iPhone plant in China, with some men smashing surveillance cameras and windows, footage uploaded on social media showed.
The rare scenes of open dissent in China mark an escalation of unrest at the massive factory in Zhengzhou city that has come to symbolise a dangerous build-up in frustration with the country’s ultra-harsh COVID-19 rules as well as inept handling of the situation by the world’s largest contract manufacturer.
The trigger for the protests, which began early on Wednesday, appeared to be a plan by the company to delay bonus payments, many of the demonstrators said on livestream feeds.
A Foxconn worker shared live footage from the ongoing protest at the Zhengzhou factory. He said workers had marched out from their dorms this morning to demand compensation, now they are facing riot police. pic.twitter.com/6QypLaekA5
— Viola Zhou (@violazhouyi) November 23, 2022
“Give us our pay!”, chanted workers who were surrounded by people in full hazmat suits, some carrying batons, according to footage from one video. Other footage showed tear gas being deployed and workers taking down quarantine barriers.
Discontent over strict quarantine rules, the company’s inability to stamp out outbreaks and poor conditions including shortages of food has caused workers to flee the factory campus since the Apple Inc supplier imposed a so-called closed loop system at the world’s biggest iPhone plant in late October.
Riots have reportedly broken out at the Foxconn IPhone Factory in the Chinese City of Zhengzhou, the recent Civil Unrest is due to COVID Lockdowns where over 100k Workers have been locked in their “Factory Dorms” for weeks with a majority not being paid during the Lockdown. pic.twitter.com/XxUuD9R1We
— OSINTdefender (@sentdefender) November 23, 2022
Under closed-loop operations, staff live and work on-site isolated from the wider world.
Former workers have estimated that thousands fled the factory campus. Before the unrest, the Zhengzhou plant employed some 200,000 people. To retain staff and lure more workers Foxconn has had to offer bonuses and higher salaries.
The protest images come at a time when investors are concerned about escalating global supply chain issues due in part to China’s zero-COVID policies that aim to stamp out every outbreak.
❗️Protests and riots are happening at Foxconn's largest IPhone factory in the Mainland ?? China's City of Zhengzhou.
Over 100,000 people have been locked in their "factory dorms" for weeks, many without pay due to China's authoritarian lock downs. pic.twitter.com/PX8XRUEdN1
— Libertariananitionalist (@RiceEat17712218) November 23, 2022
Foxconn is Apple’s biggest iPhone maker, accounting for 70 percent of iPhone shipments globally. It makes most of the phones at the Zhengzhou plant, though it has other smaller production sites in India and southern China.