Foxconn denies workers on strike over iPhone production



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8 October 2012 | 0

Foxconn has denied reports that workers at one of its plants in China went on strike last week over working conditions linked to iPhone 5 production. According to New York-based labour rights group Child Labor Watch, thousands of workers went on strike on Friday, bringing some iPhone 5 production lines to a halt, a labour rights group claimed.

The strike at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou factory allegedly began at 1pm local time and involved 3,000 to 4,000 workers upset about stricter quality control requirements introduced for the new Apple smartphone.

"According to workers, multiple iPhone 5 production lines from various factory buildings were in a state of paralysis for the entire day," China Labor Watch said. It also reported that quality control inspectors were attacked.




If these reports are accurate, it wouldn’t be the first disruption at a Foxconn plant in China. Last month, 2,000 workers rioted at a factory in Taiyuan after what workers described as aggressive behaviour from security guards.

This latest incident followed tighter rules to prevent tiny indentations on the phones and scratches to the phones’ frames and back covers. The new iPhone 5 is said to be more susceptible to such markings.

A worker at the plant told IDG News Service last Friday that because quality controls have been stepped up, more products are being intercepted before they leave the production line, which means volume targets aren’t being met.

"As a result, there was conflict and they beat our people," said the worker, who did not give her name but said she works in the "quality department."

She claimed workers at the plant were beaten twice last week for similar reasons. "Our long-suppressed anger erupted and we went on strike," she said, communicating via Tencent Weibo, a Chinese Twitter-like service.

A fight between workers and quality control inspectors on Friday resulted in some injuries and people being taken to the hospital, China Labor Watch said.

"They have such high expectations for these products, even if you raise the demands a little bit it makes a huge difference to the pressure on the workers," Li Qiang, China Labor Watch’s executive director, said in an interview.

He last heard from workers at the plant late Friday night and the strike had not been resolved, he said.

Foxconn issued a statement denying any disturbance to production and that any problems with staff were quickly resolved.

IDG News Service

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