Coronavirus retook a toll in China: Furious protests at giant Zhengzhou iPhone factory

Image Source-The Guardian

Large Scale Protests took place at the world’s largest iPhone factory in Zhengzhou, China, and widely circulated footage is reported. 

Video shows hundreds of workers marching, some in hazmat suits and confronting riot police. 

Those covering the protests live said the police beat workers. Clashes were also seen in the video. The manufacturer’s Foxconn said it would work with employees and local authorities to prevent further violence. 

In a statement, the company said some workers doubted their wages, but the company will honour salaries based on the contract. 

It also explained that rumours that new hires were asked to share dormitories with Covid-positive workers were “obviously untrue.” It was sanitised and checked by local officials. 

Last month, the site was put on lockdown due to a rise in COVID-19 cases, forcing some workers to go out and go home. The company then recruited new employees with the promise of large bonuses. 4,444 videos shared on live-streaming sites showed workers shouting, “Defend our rights! Defend our rights!” was seen online.  

“They have changed their contract and can no longer receive the promised subsidies. According to a BBC source, they will quarantine us but not provide food. 

“If they don’t meet our needs, we will keep fighting,” he added further.

He also claimed to have seen a man beaten by police and “severely injured.”

Some of the videos that went viral showed employees complaining about the meals they were served, while others said they were not receiving their bonuses as promised.

A video of him on another live stream also showed a large group of armed police at the scene. 

“Why are people protesting?” I don’t know exactly, but they are mixing our new workers with old workers who are [Covid] positive,” an employer said at the protest site.

Taiwanese company Foxconn is a major supplier to Apple, and the company’s Zhengzhou factory assembles more iPhones than anywhere else in the world. 

In late October, many workers were evacuated from the factory amid rising COVID-19 infections and allegations of employee abuse. Their escape was captured on social media as they returned to their hometown in another part of central China in a truck. 

The company has since rolled out closed-loop operations at the plant to isolate it from the central city of Zhengzhou amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Earlier this month, Apple announced that it expects shipments of iPhone 14 models to decline due to a production halt in Zhengzhou.

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