Many videos posted on Chinese social media showed hundreds of workers at the Foxconn facility in Zhengzhou, in the Henan region of central China, protesting and fighting with police. The videos recorded violent battles between the workers and thousands of hazmat-clad police stationed at the facility, where workers have been protesting and payment delays for many weeks despite a COVID-19 breakout. According to reports, Apple was preparing for delays even before the most recent protests. The company would probably take weeks to get back to full capacity with the new employees leaving.
Reasons For the Protest
According to reports, an epidemic at the Foxconn site resulted in the lockdown of employees, for many weeks in the rooms. Several employees could be seen climbing the factory walls to escape the lockdown and make their way back to their hometowns along highways. To guarantee that Apple’s supply chain is not interrupted because of employee exits, the local government has attempted to hire hundreds of replacements. According to reports in the Chinese media, up to one lakh, additional employees are being hired. Others have criticized the working environment and said they were not kept apart from COVID-19-positive cases.
How The Chinese Government Reacted?
The Chinese government has handled the protesters with force. There are hundreds of armed police surrounding the site and engaging in physical conflict with workers. In several videos, security guards in white were seen kicking and punching workers. Some of the protesters were live-streaming videos on Chinese social media platforms before those videos were removed. The reaction has been consistent with the strict application of COVID-19 lockdowns throughout China. Just last week, there were fights in southern Guangdong province between protesters and hazmat-clad police, highlighting the rising public dissatisfaction at the ongoing lockdowns as part of the “zero-COVID” policy.
How did the Protests affect Apple’s iPhone shipping?
Apple has raised worries over the iPhone 14’s production ahead of the crucial American holiday shopping season when demand is expected to increase. The largest Apple manufacturing facility in the world, Foxconn’s Zhengzhou facility employs two lakh people. Before the most recent protests, a News agency reports that Apple is preparing for interruptions. The plant would probably take weeks to get back to full capacity with the leaving of new employees, approximately 70% of Apple’s iPhones are made by Foxconn.
Foxconn opposed the charges made by the employees, claiming that contracts had been met and called the accusation that workers had not been segregated from COVID-19 instances “untrue.” They further said that our apple team members reviewed the issue and looked closely into the employees’ concerns.