Apple supplier Foxconn apologized on Thursday for the chaos at its factory in Zhengzhou – the world’s largest iPhone factory – and offered ¥10,000 ($1,400) compensation to disgruntled workers who decide to leave the factory, a day after violent clashes broke out between factory workers and security personnel about overdue payments and poor living conditions due to China’s zero Covid policy.
According to Reuters, Foxconn blamed the chaos on a “technical error” in its new employee recruitment process, which caused workers’ concerns that they would not receive the bonus payment they were promised at the time of hiring.
Foxconn did not elaborate on the nature of the error, but resisted reports of a Covid-19 outbreak in its workers’ dormitories they call “patently false.”
Bonus pay and higher wages were promised to all new recruits in an effort to bring workers back to the factory after several fled the premises in October over Covid concerns and poor living conditions.
However, several new recruits began protesting after learning that they would only receive these special bonuses if they stayed at the factory until March, Bloomberg reported.
To quell workers’ anger over the issue, Foxconn has offered ¥10,000 ($1,400) compensation to new recruits who choose to leave the factory, saying it would respect their wishes.
Due to China’s restrictive zero-Covid policy, workers at the factory have been forced to live in a closed bubble on site – isolated in dormitories where they face food shortages and a lack of proper access to medicines, among other things.
Chaos as the massive “iPhone City” factory campus, which houses more than 200,000 people on Wednesday, has prompted officials in the city of Zhengzhou – where the factory is located – to issue blocking orders in areas of the city considered ‘high risk’. People in these high-risk areas have been ordered to stay home, while the rest of the city’s residents have been urged to go out only for necessary tasks. This new lockdown is unlikely to have a major impact on the iPhone factory itself, as it was already designated as a “high-risk” zone where workers were not allowed to leave the large campus.
What to watch out for
Although Apple does not official statement On the impact of Wednesday’s clashes, the company warned earlier this month of a delay in shipments of its flagship iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max phones due to “Covid-19 restrictions” in Zhengzhou. On Apple’s website, the estimated delivery time for an iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max is six weeks at the time of publication.