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HomeNewsViolence at iPhone plant in China: Foxconn offers staff $1,400 to leave

Violence at iPhone plant in China: Foxconn offers staff $1,400 to leave

Foxconn Technology Group is reportedly offering $1,400 ( 1,14,354) to any workers who choose to leave in order to appease the disgruntled new hires who played a central role in violent protests that rocked the world’s largest iPhone factory on Wednesday.  The workers clashed with security personnel over pay and living conditions at the plant. The sum will be paid in two installments, according to Bloomberg news agency.

The incentive, which in general exceeds a month’s wages for Foxconn’s blue-collar staff, is likely to placate some employees who staged a rare violent protest that trained a spotlight on the economic and social toll of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Covid Zero strategy.

Hundreds of workers clashed with the security personnel as tensions boiled over after almost a month under tough restrictions intended to quash a Covid outbreak.

As per the news agency, one of the reasons behind the unrest is that workers found out they wouldn’t receive the higher wages they had been promised unless they stayed at the factory through March.

The $1400 payment would compensate people unhappy with that restriction for their travel back home.

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-severe Covid rules.

The trigger for the protests appeared to be a plan to delay bonus payments, many of the demonstrators said on Livestream feeds. “Give us our pay!”, chanted workers 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. Some workers had complained they were forced to share dormitories with colleagues who had tested positive for Covid-19.

Mounting dissatisfaction among Foxconn’s ranks threatens to further disrupt production at a plant that cranks out the majority of Apple’s marquee devices for shipment around the world. The US company has already warned it will ship fewer devices than anticipated during the critical holiday quarter, while wait times for iPhones have ballooned in some cases to after Christmas.

Hours after the Zhengzhou violence, the local government announced “mobility controls” over parts of the city through 29 November– an effective lockdown that could hamper efforts to recruit new workers to replace those who leave.

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