According to Reuters, citing a source at Foxconn, more than 20,000 employees who were affected by COVID-19 left the company’s plant in Zhengzhou, China, most of them newly hired personnel. While some sources at Foxconn believe this will impact new iPhone production for the holiday season, laying off recently hired employees is believed to be no big deal.
The layoffs will make it more difficult to meet the company’s previous goal of restarting production at full capacity by the end of November, a source said after unrest at the factory, most of which took place at the largest iPhone factory in mid-week.
The layoffs came after a Taiwanese company on Thursday offered the equivalent of $1,396 to those wanting to leave the messy plant. Foxconn apologized for a “technical error” it allegedly occurred in the accrual of “bonus” payments to new employees, prompting a number of new protests, including clashes with security. According to the video published today on Chinese social networks, long queues have formed at the plant for buses to pick up those who want to leave.
According to another Reuters source at Foxconn, some of the new hires hired out of the 200,000-strong workforce actually left the campus, but in reality it had little impact on production volumes as new hires didn’t have time for training before starting work.
The unrest at the plant began amid China’s record number of new infections, prompting fresh lockdowns and sparking discontent across the country. In addition, the COVID-19 outbreak has exposed trust issues between employees at the Zhengzhou plant and Foxconn management, as well as feedback issues with employees. It’s also possible that thousands of people wanting to quit their jobs are in a hurry to have time to leave before the city closes for quarantine. Yesterday, Bloomberg reported that sanitation restrictions will be rolled out across the city through next Tuesday.
Foxconn began hiring new employees earlier this month with promises of higher wages after the company was forced to take measures to combat the pandemic in October. This forced Foxconn to effectively shut down dormitories, with many choosing to run away because they could not face living in the new conditions.