Foxconn protests: iPhone factory offers to pay workers to leave Zhengzhou campus
Foxconn has offered to pay new hires 10,000 yuan ($1,400) in an effort to shut down the world’s largest iPhone assembly plant. protests in which hundreds of people clashed with security forces In a complex in central China.
The Apple supplier made the offer in a text message from its human resources department to workers on Wednesday following dramatic scenes of violent protests at its campus in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan province.
In a message seen by CNN, the company urged workers to “return to your dormitories” on campus. He also promised to pay them 8,000 yuan if they agreed to leave Foxconn, and another 2,000 yuan after they boarded buses and left the sprawling area entirely.
Protests were sparked on Tuesday night over the terms of new hires’ pay packages and Covid. concerns about their living conditions. Demonstrations escalated on Wednesday when workers clashed with crowds security forces, including SWAT team officers.
Videos circulating on social media showed riot police in gamut suits kicking and beating protesters with batons and iron rods. Some workers were seen breaking down fences, throwing bottles and barricades at officers and wrecking and overturning a police car.
The protest largely ended around 10 p.m. Wednesday as workers accepted Foxconn’s payment offer and returned to their dormitories, fearing a crackdown by authorities, a witness told CNN.
The Zhengzhou factory was hit by a Covid outbreak in October, forcing it to close and causing a mass exodus of workers fleeing the outbreak. Later Foxconn started a mass recruitment campaign, where More than 100,000 people subscribed to fill posted positions, Chinese state media reported.
Workers were promised 3,000 yuan in bonuses after 30 days of work, and another 3,000 yuan after a total of 60 days, according to a document detailing the new workers’ pay package, reported by CNN.
However, one worker said that upon arriving at the factory, the new hires were told by Foxconn that they would receive the first bonus only on March 15 and the second installment in May, meaning they would have to work until the Lunar New Year holiday. start in January 2023 to receive the first bonus payments.
“The new hires had to work long hours to get the promised bonus, so they felt cheated,” a worker told CNN.
In a statement on Thursday, Foxconn said it fully understands the new hires’ concerns about “possible changes to the subsidy policy,” which it blamed on “a technical error during onboarding.”
“We apologize for the input error in the computer system and guarantee that the actual payment will be as agreed,” the statement said.
Foxconn contacted employees and assured them that wages and bonuses would be paid “in accordance with company policy,” the report said.
Foxconn, which makes a number of Apple products, told CNN Business that its employees are working at the Zhengzhou facility.
“We are reviewing the situation and are working closely with Foxconn to address the concerns of their employees,” the statement said.
Some of the workers who agreed to leave on Thursday morning received the first part of their payment, the worker said on live television, which showed workers queuing outdoors. taking Covid tests while waiting for buses. Later, live broadcasts showed long queues of workers boarding buses.
But for some, the trouble is not over yet. After being taken to Zhengzhou train station, many were unable to get tickets home, another worker said on live TV on Thursday afternoon. Thousands of workers like him were stuck at the train station, he said, turning his camera to show the crowd.
Zhengzhou plans to impose a five-day lockdown in its urban areas, including the railway station, starting at midnight on Friday, authorities said earlier.
The protest began Tuesday night in front of workers’ dormitories on the Foxconn campus, with hundreds of people marching and chanting slogans, including “Foxconn,” according to social media videos and eyewitness accounts. The videos showed workers clashing with security guards and police fighting back with tear gas.
The clash lasted until Wednesday morning. The situation quickly escalated when a large number of security forces, mostly dressed in white gamut uniforms and some carrying shields and batons, were dispatched to the scene. The videos show columns of police vehicles, some marked “SWAT,” arriving at the campus, which is normally home to about 200,000 workers.
More workers joined the protest after watching the live streams on video platforms Kuaishou and Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, a worker told CNN. Many live broadcasts were interrupted or censored. Online searches for “Foxconn” in Chinese are restricted.
Some of the protesters marched towards the main gate of the industrial complex, which is located in a separate area from the workers’ dormitory, in order to block the installation work, the worker said.
Other protesters took the next step to enter the industrial building. According to the worker, they broke the Covid testing booths, glass doors and advertising boards in the restaurants in the production area.
Having worked at the Zhengzhou factory for six years, he now says he is very disappointed with Foxconn and plans to quit. With a basic monthly salary of 2,300 yuan, he worked 10 hours a day, seven days a week during the pandemic, earning between 4,000 and 5,000 yuan a month, including overtime.
“Foxconn is a Taiwanese company,” he said. “Not only did it spread Taiwan’s values of democracy and freedom to the mainland, but it was assimilated by the Chinese Communist Party, making it so cruel and inhumane. I’m really sorry about that.”
Although he was not one of the new recruits, he protested with them: “If today I remain silent to the suffering of others, who will speak for me tomorrow?” he added.
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