A video shows workers wearing protective suits and holding shields confronting police at a Foxconn factory in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, China on the 23rd. AFP Yonhap News
Foxconn (Honghai Precision Industries), a Taiwanese company that produces Apple iPhones, has begun to deal with the situation by offering a certain amount of benefits to factory workers in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, China, who have staged large-scale protests if they want to leave. If additional employees leave, it is expected that iPhone production and supply will be disrupted.
The Hong Kong South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported on the 24th that Foxconn announced on the 23rd that it would pay 10,000 yuan (about 1.86 million won) per employee if they wanted to leave the company after large-scale protests occurred at the Zhengzhou plant. . Recently newly hired employees will be given 8,000 yuan if they submit a letter of resignation, and an additional 2,000 yuan will be paid when they leave the factory. The company explained that this amount is the sum of wages, quarantine allowances, and other expenses. Foxconn said, “Some workers are still concerned about Corona 19 and want to go home after leaving the company,” and “the company understands those concerns.”
At Foxconn’s Zhengzhou factory, workers protested against the non-payment of bonuses promised by the company the day before and poor conditions. It is said that the protest on this day was sparked by the fact that the company recently hired new employees and promised to give additional wages if they worked until February 15 next year, but unilaterally extended the period by one month. Employees living in quarantine in the factory due to the spread of Corona 19 also expressed dissatisfaction with poor living and working conditions, such as poor food and concerns about Corona 19 infection. On this day, the protest lasted for a long time from dawn and led to physical clashes with the police. The company promised to pay allowances to deal with this, and announced that the factory operation was normalized that evening. However, protests are still continuing in the factory as the company’s promised benefits were limited to newly hired employees, SCMP said.
If a large number of employees leave due to the company’s payment of allowances and guarantees of returning home, disruptions in the supply of iPhones may follow. The Foxconn Zhengzhou plant is the world’s largest iPhone production base, producing 70% of iPhones and 80% of the iPhone 14 series worldwide. Here, in accordance with the Corona 19 quarantine measures last month, workers living in the factory collectively escaped, causing disruptions to the factory’s operation. The company has been gradually normalizing production activities by recruiting new employees and encouraging the return of existing employees, but the pace of normalization could be slowed down if employees leave again. Bloomberg News reported that the incident could further disrupt iPhone production at the Zhengzhou plant.
Foxconn plans to fully normalize operations at its Zhengzhou plant by the end of this month. A Foxconn spokesperson told Bloomberg News that “it may take time, but we will be replacing departing employees with new ones.” Apple is also said to have dispatched an employee to the scene to resolve the situation. Apple said in a statement that “team members at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant are reviewing the situation” and that it is “working closely with Foxconn to address employee concerns.”