Workers at an iPhone factory in China take the money and leave after protests

Workers at an iPhone factory in China take the money and leave after protests


Workers leave a giant Foxconn iPhone factory in central China over working conditions and Covid restrictions, relieved to take home severance pay after angry protests at the Taiwanese tech giant’s plant.

Workers are exiting the Zhengzhou plant after bloody clashes with police that left more than a dozen protesters injured, angry at Foxconn’s failure to deliver promised bonuses, employees told AFP.

“The contract suddenly changed and everyone was unhappy, plus the previous incidents at Foxconn caused everyone to lose confidence, so there were protests,” one worker who asked to remain anonymous told AFP.

Foxconn has been desperate to keep operations running at the factory, the world’s largest maker of iPhones, after a handful of Covid cases forced it to close the facility.

Now the company is offering payouts to those who leave, with employees taking to social media Thursday to say they received 10,000 yuan ($1,400) in bonuses in exchange for terminating their contracts.

In the background of several videos, several tour buses are parked in front of the dormitories, ostensibly to take staff home.

“Everyone has their money and wants to go,” said the worker.

“I’m quite satisfied, workers who still want this or that shouldn’t be too greedy,” she said.

Foxconn also seems keen to appease those who have been beaten by police, with another worker telling AFP that injured colleagues have been paid 500 yuan in addition to their severance bonus.

Foxconn did not respond to an AFP request for comment.

However, screenshots of a company announcement circulating online on Thursday show that new employees who wish to leave the company would be offered 10,000 yuan to cover lost salary, quarantine and transportation costs.

The notice said employees who register to terminate their contracts will receive 8,000 yuan and another 2,000 yuan if they board buses arranged by the company back to their hometowns.

– Demonstrators beaten –

Footage of the protests, shared with AFP and taken by a factory worker, showed a person lying motionless on the ground next to a man in a blood-splattered jacket, whose head was being tied to staunch a wound.

Another clip shows dozens of hazmat-clad staff brandishing batons and chasing staff, one of whom is thrown to the ground before it appears he’s been kicked in the head.

The worker who circulated the videos and was present at the protests estimated that around 20 people were injured in the clashes, some of whom were hospitalized. He asked for anonymity to protect his safety.

He told AFP the confrontations erupted after new employees who signed an agreement with the factory to work at least 30 days for a one-time payment of 3,000 yuan (US$420), the number suddenly dropped to just 30 yuan had shrunk.

Foxconn has blamed a “technical error” in its payment systems for the non-payment and promised employees all salaries would be paid according to company guidelines.

The unrest now appears to have cooled off, a worker told AFP.

“The new recruits should all have left, now everything is normal,” said the worker.

A video posted on short-video platform Kuaishou on Thursday shows hundreds of workers with suitcases waiting to exit the dorm quarters.

“Get money and return home,” read the caption, punctuated by a smiley face emoji.

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