Hundreds of workers at Foxconn Technology Group plant, which is Apple Inc’s main iPhone-manufacturing plant in China, clashed with security personnel, according to a Bloomberg report. It added that tensions boiled over after almost a month under tough restrictions intended to quash a coronavirus outbreak. It also said the protest started overnight over unpaid wages and fears of spreading infection.
The report said that in the early hours of Wednesday, workers at the China’s iPhone plant came out of dormitories. They jostled and pushed past the white-clad guards they vastly outnumbered, Bloomberg reported attributing videos sent by a witness to portions of the protest.
1/2 Latest from #Foxconn in #iPhone city in #Zhengzhou: Newly recruited workers fiercely fight with security guards as they try to storm out of the factory.Reason: Foxconn tried to recruit about 100K new workers after a lot escaped a while ago. New workers were told they would pic.twitter.com/XsVzVT7N7r— Jennifer Zeng 曾錚 (@jenniferzeng97) November 22, 2022
The plant, located in Zhengzhou, is the world’s largest iPhone manufacturing plant with about 2 lakh workers. It manufactures an estimated four in five of its latest-generation handsets, including a vast majority of Apple’s highest-end iPhone 14 Pro.
The Bloomberg report said several white-suited people pummeled a person lying on the ground with sticks in another clip. “Onlookers yelled “fight, fight!” as throngs of people forced their way past barricades. At one point, several surrounded an occupied police car and began rocking the vehicle while screaming incoherently.”
During the protests, several workers were injured and anti-riot police arrived on the scene on Wednesday to restore order, Bloomberg reported quoting a witness.
After the workers surrounded a manager in a conference room to voice grievances, a male worker was also quoted in the report, “I’m really scared about this place, we all could be Covid positive now… You are sending us to death.”
Bloomberg said a Foxconn representative declined to comment on the incident.
Videos that are doing the round on Twitter are showing hundreds of workers marching on a road in daylight, with some being confronted by a row of riot police and people in hazmat suits.
According to news agency AFP, one clip take from a livestream showed dozens of workers at night shouting, “Defend our rights! Defend our rights!” as they confronted a row of police officers and a police vehicle with flashing lights.
According to the Bloomberg report, the violence at the Apple plant at Zhengzhou reflects a build-up of tensions since the lockdown in October. There are over 2 lakh workers at the “iPhone City” and many of them have become isolated and are subsisting on spartan meals and scrounging for medication.
Last month, many workers fled the plant on foot. Later, Foxconn and the local government promised unusually high wages to attract new staff and promising better working conditions.
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