HONG KONG—Workers at the world’s biggest iPhone assembly plant clashed with police after protests erupted at the factory in central China, where the sprawling facility employing more than 200,000 people has been under strict Covid-19 controls for weeks.
Videos circulating on workers’ chat groups Tuesday showed chaotic scenes at the factory in Zhengzhou where Foxconn Technology Group assembles most of the world’s latest iPhone models. One video shot near the factory buildings on the northeastern side of the site showed more than a dozen police officers and men in white protective suits surrounding and repeatedly punching a man and beating him with batons.
Employees at the plant said protests started in a dormitory area near the factory on Tuesday evening, after they learned expected bonuses would be delayed. Protests spread to at least one other dormitory district as videos of the incident circulated, workers said. Workers pulled down tents that had been set up outside and the glass entrance doors of a building were smashed, videos showed.
In a statement Wednesday, Foxconn confirmed the violence was related to concerns some new workers had over their pay. The company said it has always honored its contractual obligations over pay and will communicate with employees and the government to prevent a repeat of the incident. Police responsible for the area declined to comment.
One new recruit said that as of Wednesday around noon he saw little attempt by Foxconn to bring the situation under control in the face of angry crowds. “There’s basically no security in the factory campus,” he said. He said he and others had resorted to grabbing milk, bread and packets of instant noodles from supply points, as food services have stopped.
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