Hundreds of Foxconn employees, Apple’s main partner responsible for making the iPhone 14 phones, have launched a full-scale riot against the company’s management, accusing unannounced contract changes and non-payment of due wage bonuses.
The protests at the Zhengzhou plant in China’s Henan province appear to have degenerated into full-blown street battles involving the police. With more than 200,000 employees, it is the largest Foxconn plant in China.
According to information obtained from reliable sources, Foxconn employees were convinced that they were being subjected to an experiment initiated with the approval of the Chinese Communist Party, political factors wanting to find out what would happen if the COVID pandemic was allowed to run unchecked in a relatively large community without the possibility of observing good social distancing practices. Specifically, according to conspiracy theorists, CFP officials wanted to know how seriously ill members of that community would become and how many of them would die. Apparently, their fears were also reinforced by the attitude of their superiors who seemed to be wilfully ignoring cases of infection among employees, delaying as long as possible the application of rules that required sick employees to be removed from the community and sent to quarantine centres. Instead, employees were kept as much as possible on the factory premises, with only severe symptomatic cases being evacuated.
Unusually for a company focused on efficiency, as measured by maximizing work hours and keeping the wages paid to workers as low as possible, Foxconn has promised hefty wage bonuses for employees willing to work overtime. But the desperation of the company, whose management is in close contact with the Chinese Communist Party, seems to have reached a new level, with information obtained from sources showing the involvement of Party activists in the recruitment process, and even a reward system based on meeting or exceeding Party standards. Following these measures, Foxconn recently announced that it had recruited 100,000 workers to replace those who left.
However, discontent seems to grow by the day, with the exacerbation of protests into full-blown street riots predicting further mass departures among employees.
For the first time in the company’s history, Apple has warned of iPhone stockouts, directly affecting prices and availability of phones in stores.
According to Foxconn, manufacturing facilities located in the Zhengzhou region are in areas with a low risk of COVID infection, mainly due to the very strict measures already imposed.