Foxconn, the electronics manufacturer that assembles Apple’s iPhones, apologized on Thursday for the wage dispute that triggered it.and violent police pushback caused antivirus controls to slow production at factories in central China.
Rising unrest at the Zhengzhou factory has continued for at least a month since thousands of workers went on strike in October, claiming unsafe working conditions linked to the spread of COVID-19. All of this comes as China grapples with a surge in viral infections, especially in its densely populated cities.
Foxconn hired some new employees after deportation. Allegations that the company illegally changed its policy of recruiting new employees who claimed they were hired on promises of higher wages than they actually received led to protests at the factory.
A video shared on social media earlier this week showed thousands of people in Zhengzhou wearing masks and facing lines of police officers in protective gear and carrying riot shields during a particularly large demonstration. Police allegedly kicked and clubbed a protester after he grabbed the metal stick that had been used to beat him. It said an employee was beaten and detained during the protest.
Foxconn, the largest contract assembler of smartphones and other electronics for Apple and other global brands, addressed employee complaints about wage discrepancies in an apology Thursday. The company accused it of a “technical error” in the process of adding new employees and said it would pay the amount promised.
“We apologize for any input errors in our computer system and can assure you that the actual salary is the same as agreed and the official recruitment poster,” the company statement said. “We will do our best to proactively resolve employee concerns and reasonable requests,” he said.
Apple said late Wednesday that Foxconn’s Zhengzhou facility was staffed.
Foxconn, based in Cupertino, Calif., said it was “assessing the situation and working closely with Foxconn to ensure employee concerns are addressed.”
The controversy comes as the ruling Communist Party tries to contain a surge in coronavirus cases without shutting down factories, as it did in 2020 at the start of the pandemic. , which involves having employees live in the workplace without contact with the outside world.
Officials last month promised to ease economic disruption by shortening quarantine times and making other changes to China’s “zero COVID” strategy aimed at isolating all cases. Nonetheless, the surge in infections has prompted authorities to suspend access to neighborhoods and factories, and to close office buildings, shops and restaurants in parts of many cities.
On Thursday, people in Zhengzhou’s eight districts, with a total of 6.6 million residents, were told to stay home for five days. Daily mass testing was ordered due to the “war on extermination” against the virus.
Apple had previously warned that iPhone 14 deliveries would be delayed as employees left its Zhengzhou factory and access to the industrial area around the facility was suspended after the outbreak.
To attract new workers, Foxconn offered $3,500 for two months of work, employees said. That’s almost 50% more than news reports say is the usual top wage.
According to employee Li Sanshan, workers complained that after arriving they were told they would have to work for two more months at lower wages in order to receive higher wages.
Foxconn offered up to $1,400 to new hires who chose to leave, financial news outlet Cailianshe reported, citing an unidentified recruiter.
Foxconn said in a statement Thursday that retiring employees will receive an unspecified “caregiver subsidy,” without elaborating. He promised to provide “perfect support” to residents.
The protests in Zhengzhou came amid public frustration over restrictions that have forced millions of people to stay at home. It shows how the barricade installed in is being demolished.
Foxconn, headquartered in New Taipei City, Taiwan, previously denied online comments that an employee infected with the virus was living in a factory dormitory.