Foxconn, the world’s biggest iPhone factory in China, has recently quadrupled daily bonuses for employees at the Zhengzhou plant after workers fled the site in droves amid fears of a stringent “zero-COVID” policy following an outbreak.
According to a Reuters report on November 1, Foxconn announced that workers, who are making electronics including smartphones at the plant, will receive a new daily bonus of up to $55 (400 yuan) instead of $14 (100 yuan) per day for the month of November.
The new incentive came after Foxconn placed the facilities under strict quarantine to curb a COVID-19 flare-up. Due to insufficient food and medical care, coupled with a growing fear of potential widespread infection at any time, many workers tried to escape the factory.
Last week, videos flooded social media platforms, showing people who are allegedly Foxconn employees climbing over fences to flee the factory. Many carried bags of their belongings while making their way on foot back to their hometowns miles and days away.
Reuters noted that Foxconn also offered employees who work for more than 25 days this month a maximum bonus of nearly $690 rather than $206.
And, those willing to put in the most effort in November will earn a total bonus of nearly $2,060, much higher than the monthly salary of about $410 to $550.
Despite the bonuses, some employees still wanted to leave. A worker told Reuters that however great the rewards, she had to quit because what she and her colleagues endured was “horrible.”
As reported by Bloomberg, a 20-year-old worker named Dong said that she and her brother had to walk with their luggage for 25 miles to get home to a small town located southeast of Zhengzhou .
Dong said after completing the nine-hour trip, “I was completely spent from walking, I got a massive blister filled with blood.”
She added, “Foxconn really messed up, I don’t think a lot of people would want to go back. I know I wouldn’t.”