The tension at the Foxconn factory in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou goes up at times After thousands of workers escaped from it a few weeks ago, even jumping over fences with their belongings on their backs due to the conditions in which they found themselves due to the confinements due to an outbreak of COVID-19 in the factory, the situation has been progressively worsening.
At first, the company apologized for what happened, and promised that the situation would change. The workers complained about the conditions in which they found themselves, denouncing even a lack of food, and Foxconn promised that it would improve them. It also promised bonuses to those who stayed to work there. But since nothing has changed, the workers, who have been in lockdown for several weeks now, began to protest more violently last Tuesdaybecause in addition to not improving the situation, they found out that the promised bonuses were going to be delayed.
The protests began on Tuesday night, according to the Wall Street Journal, in an area near the rooms of the workers of the Zhengzou plant, located in the Chinese province of Henan, and the police had to intervene after various damages in company facilities. This further inflamed the spirits of the workers, who confronted the police with metal bars, sticks and everything within their reach.
Foxconn’s strict COVID controls have isolated its workers, who number around 200,000 at this plant alone, and forced them to live and work in the factory, with limited access to food and other supplies. The purpose of this isolation is to prevent further outbreaks in Zhengzhou, but it seems that nothing is going well. Since last October, thousands of workers have fled the factory and returned home, prompting Foxconn to promise higher wages and incentives to staff who stay.
Several videos shared on social networks show hundreds of workers protesting in the outdoor facilities of the plant, chanting slogans related to the payment of their salaries and bonuses, surrounded by riot police and dressed in anti-pollution suits. Also the confrontations with the police, who are pushed back on numerous occasions.
In addition to the delays in payments, other workers are left with a shortage of food, since they even have the cafeteria closed. Also, according to a worker speaking in one of the videos, “they changed the contract so we can’t get the bonus as promised. They put us in quarantine but they don’t give us food. If they don’t meet our needs, we’ll keep fighting.” Many of the videos, yes, have already been removed from the networks.
The Zhengzhou factory, known as the iPhone city, has some 200,000 workers, who are responsible for manufacturing the vast majority of iPhones sold in the world. The problems that it is going through with COVID, and the treatment that it is giving to its workers, who prefer to escape rather than continue spending weeks in the conditions in which they find themselves, will impact the manufacture of iPhones. Specifically, to that of the iPhone 14, something that Apple is already aware of.
Meanwhile, according to the Financial Times, at Foxconn they assure that they will work with the staff and local authorities to prevent further violence. To get started, He has promised the workers to stop the protests and leave about $1,400 per head. In addition, in a statement, he has denied the rumors that he is not going to pay the bonuses, and they have assured that they will do so based on the contracts. He has also denied rumors that new workers at the factory, which Foxconn is recruiting to try to bring production back, had to share a dormitory with other workers who had tested positive for COVID-19.