After hundreds of Foxconn employees joined protests at the main factory where the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are assembled, and security guards and police were unable to effectively deal with the situation, the company was forced to make concessions to the protesters and big promises make financial payments.
Discontent at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant has intensified since mid-autumn — amid outbreaks of COVID-19, the company, which employs more than 200,000 people, transitioned to a closed production system, with workers forbidden from leaving the plant, to avoid the spread of infection and on the premises of the factory premises itself – use cafeterias. It was mandatory to move and live along predetermined routes without leaving the dormitories. Also, some literally had to live with COVID-positive colleagues, and food was rumored to only be enough for those directly involved in production – the rest were given rations like bread and instant noodles.
According to the demonstrators, the trigger for the protests on Wednesday was a plan to delay bonus payments promised to those who stayed at the plant and did not flee the plant like several thousand workers. During the protests, workers demanded the promised payments. According to some reports, Foxconn has decided that only those who agree to stay through March will earn them.
As a result of intensive negotiations, the leadership managed to locate the main focus of the unrest on campus. According to Foxconn itself, the speeches did not affect the production of smartphones, the plant continued as normal.
It was previously reported that iPhone production at the factory could fall by 30% in November, and Apple warned that it expects shipments of premium iPhone models assembled in Zhengzhou to be lower than previously planned. According to sources, Foxconn is working hard to maintain the required production levels and only part of the newly hired additional employees participated in the unrest.
However, according to other sources, compensating for the shortage of staff with new staff will not help to achieve the planned volumes by the end of November. At the same time, Foxconn factories produce up to 70% of all iPhones worldwide, most models are made in Zhengzhou.
According to experts at Wedbush Securities, the sanitary restrictions and resulting unrest will cost Apple $1 billion in lost smartphone sales each week. During the holiday quarter of last year, Apple sold $6 billion worth of iPhones a week.
According to Reuters, Foxconn has previously stated that delays in bonus payments were due to a “technical error” and apologized for a computer system glitch. Also, according to Bloomberg, workers who choose to leave the plant are promised $1,400, the average monthly wage for workers at the plant but not for assembly workers.