Apple iPhone factory workers clash with police in China

While management at the Foxconn facility struggles to contain a Covid-19 epidemic while maintaining production in front of the busiest holiday season, violent worker protests have broken out at the largest iPhone manufacturer in the world, located in central China.

Images of employees scaling fences to get out of the shut-down iPhone factory in Zhengzhou revealed the degree of terror that China’s zero-covid policy had caused.

The employees trapped inside the factory illustrate the human cost of China’s tough attitude, as the lockdown at Apple’s largest factory resulted in extended waiting times for iPhone customers. Now, employees of the Zhengzhou branch have disobeyed orders and taken to the streets to demonstrate against the food they receive and unpaid incentives.

According to reports, hundreds were observed marching and yelling “protect our rights” even after they came into contact with riot police and individuals wearing Hazmat suits. Two lakh people are employed at the facility, which provides more than half of the world’s iPhones.

Due to the lockdown’s disruption of factory activity, Apple was also obliged to explore for alternatives and expand its manufacturing operations to include facilities in Vietnam and India. Foxconn had to make more excellent pay and bonus promises to keep staff in production after workers began to leave last month, which negatively impacted productivity. To address the labor shortage, the company has started recruiting more workers; as a result, the previously-requested bonus is now being demanded by the workforce.

Customers of the iPhone must wait a month to receive deliveries of the most recent model of the device due to the crisis in China and ensuing supply delays. To provide an alternative to China, where 95% of iPhones are built, Apple has also given Pegatron permission to assemble iPhones in Chennai alongside Foxconn. Additionally, the Chinese lockout could result in a 30% drop in iPhone production this year. Numerous protesters were detained due to reported clashes between Chinese employees and riot police. As the protests gained momentum, violence was also seen inside the facility.

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The company will keep in touch with staff members and the government in regards to any acts of violence to stop repeats of these occurrences, the Taiwanese tech behemoth stated in a statement. Hundreds of workers may be marching down a road in daylight in videos posted on Weibo and Twitter that AFP has confirmed.

Some of the workers are being confronted by riot police and those wearing hazmat suits. An increase in Covid-19 cases at the Taiwanese tech giant’s Zhengzhou facility prompted the firm to close the enormous complex to contain the virus. The company is Apple’s primary subcontractor.

Since then, the enormous “iPhone City” plant with 200,000 employees has operated in a “closed loop” bubble.