According to the Associated Press, grass-roots officials in Henan province have been requested to fill in the gap left by workers at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou factory.
Since workers walked off to escape the pandemic-controlled facility, the plant has been struggling with a manpower shortage. Foxconn had earlier offered bonuses, and pay raises in an attempt to draw back employees. While it is unclear how far that strategy has worked out, the Finance Associated Press reported on November 14 that grassroots officials across Henan had been asked to join the assembly lines.
The publication says they would stay at the facility from 1 to 6 months. Some have already gone to the Zhengzhou factory since November 12. The publication should have mentioned if the officials received extra payment for their service at the plant.
This is a new development considering that on November 11, the South China Morning Post reported that they were calling workers urging them to return. One Foxconn employee said one cadre even offered a higher cash bonus than the company itself to convince them to go back.
But as the Post says, workers are refusing to re-enter the factory compound because of hygiene and virus concerns.
In China, grassroots cadres carry out the Chinese Communist Party’s policies. In general, they are in charge of most labor.
The mainland internet was highly critical that Foxconn was resorting to village cadres to keep production going.
Here is one comment, “It’s all the grassroots. They are obligated to conduct COVID-testing, joining the volunteer force, and now? Their job is also to sacrifice weekends without rest time, working overtime and doing stream tunes.”
This person mocks that grassroots officials should be fired so they can work full-time at Foxconn.
The Zhengzhou Foxconn facility has been running in a closed-loop mode that keeps employees on-site all day and night. When the outbreak erupted last month, workers complained about food and medicine shortages besides filthy conditions in dormitories. Rumors of deaths from starvation have also circulated.