Several videos circulating on social media show violent protests erupting at Apple Inc.’s main iPhone-making plant in China. According to a Bloomberg report, hundreds of workers at the Foxconn plant in central China’s Zhengzhou clashed with the security guards on Wednesday. Tensions have been high at the biggest iPhone plant due to the ongoing COVID restrictions put in place months ago.
Videos on social media showed workers marching on a road, with some being confronted by guards in white PPE suits. Another clip showed dozens of workers at night confronting a row of police officers and a police vehicle, shouting, “Defend our rights! Defend our rights!”. Many yelled “fight, fight!” as workers forced their way past barricades. At one point, several surrounded an occupied police car and began rocking the vehicle.
A top current affairs pusher in China, named Inty, has shared a tweet showing police brutality on iphone factory workers.
穿着防护服的中国军警暴打iPhone工厂的中国工人Chinese police brutally beating Chinese workers at @apple iPhone factorypic.twitter.com/Vz37Swn1LA
— Inty (@__Inty__) November 23, 2022
Reports say that protests started over unpaid wages and fears of spreading infection. Bloomberg quoted a worker saying, “I’m really scared about this place, we all could be Covid positive now.”
One Foxconn employee told the BBC that workers were protesting because Foxconn had “changed the contract they promised”. He said, “Those workers who are protesting are wanting to get a subsidy and return home.”
Taiwanese company Foxconn has some 2 lakh workers at the facility dubbed “iPhone City.” The plant has been under lockdown since October. Last month many workers reportedly fled the plant on foot. Foxconn hired new workers promising high wages and better working conditions.
Zhengzhou plant manufacturers Apple’s latest-generation handsets and the vast majority of the highest-end iPhone 14 Pro units. Last month Apple warned that shipments of its newest premium iPhones will be lower than previously expected.