Hundreds of workers protested at Apple’s key supplier factory in China as they clashed with security personnel amid ongoing tensions over COVID restrictions in the country.
According to Reuters, workers were seen streaming out of dormitories on Wednesday, November 23, and clashing with hazmat-suited guards. They smashed surveillance cameras and windows.
Protesters said on livestream feeds that the protest started overnight and was related to unpaid wages delays and fears of spreading infection.
In online footage, workers are surrounded by people in hazmat suits.
Many chanted, “Give us our pay!”
One worker said, “I’m really scared about this place. We all could be COVID-positive now.”
Another worried, “You are sending us to [our] death.”
Some footage showed tear gas being used against workers as they took down barricades. Some workers complained that they were forced to share dormitories with positive-tested co-workers.
Foxconn said that the violence had erupted due to complaints about workers’ bonuses, but the company noted that it deals with the issues under contractual obligations.
It said, “Regarding any violence, the company will continue to communicate with employees and the government to prevent similar incidents from happening again.”
In the latest announcement, Foxxcon apologized for the incident.
The company said, “Our team has been looking into the matter and discovered a technical error occurred during the onboarding process.”
“We apologize for an input error in the computer system and guarantee that the actual pay is the same as agreed and the official recruitment posters.”
The latest incident at Foxconn reflects the ongoing problem that has yet to be entirely resolved.
Last month, hundreds of workers fled the facility over discontent and poor living conditions under COVID rules at the site.
Foxconn is Apple’s biggest iPhone producer, with about 200,000 workers, accounting for 70% of iPhone shipments globally.
Reuters reported earlier this month that Apple’s iPhone production could fall by as much as 30% in the next few months due to the lockdown.
Barry Naughton, a professor in Chinese economics at the University of California San Diego, told Bloomberg that Beijing is placing significant pressure on local authorities to achieve contradictory goals.
He said, “The tension is that Beijing wants both Covid Zero and full economic growth.”
“It’s kind of impossible.”