The cause of unrest at the plant is still under investigation, as per the Foxconn Technology Co., Ltd. (TPE:2354) spokesman and police authorities. But the labor activists reveal that the increase in working hours and work pressure, owing to iPhone 5, could have sparked the brawl at the plant. Foxconn confirmed that 40 people were taken to the hospital, and many were arrested, while the local reports say that three people were in serious condition.
Some of posts on Twitter like sites said, the brawl sparked due to the beatings of the workers by the factory guards. In a posting on the Chinese Twitter-like microblog site Sina Weibo, user “Jo-Liang” said that four or five security guards beat a worker almost to death. Another user, “Fan de Sa Hai”, was quoted saying guards beat up two workers from Henan province, and in response, other workers set bed quilts on fire and tossed them out of dormitory windows. However, as per the state-run Xinhua news agency, the fight broke out due to the clash between the workers from Shandong Province and Henan, and about 5000 police were sent to end the violence. The plant in question employs about 79,000 people, and is located in the northern Chinese city of Taiyuan.
One of the employees said on a phone interview, “some supervisors, and security guards never respect us,”. The employee asked not to be identified by name. “We all have this anger toward them and they (the workers) wanted to destroy things to release this anger.”
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According to a report by a Hong Kong group, Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior, “Because of the launch of the iPhone 5, the workload of workers suddenly surges,” adding further that some of the interviewed employees at the Zhengzhou factory had not had a day off in the previous 30 days. The group, based in New York City, complained that employees suffer “verbal and physical abuse” by guards.
Foxconn Technology Co., Ltd. (TPE:2354) has declined to reveal which products are made in each factory, but another group, China Labor Watch, said the Taiyuan facility is making the iPhone 5. The latest iPhone, which was introduced last week, has a three to four week backlog of online orders. The Taiwanese firm is still to confirm whether the disruption will affect supplies of the iPhone.
Foxconn Technology Co., Ltd. (TPE:2354), the trading name of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., and the world’s largest contract maker of electronic goods, employs around 1.2 million workers in factories in Taiyuan, the southern city of Shenzhen, and Chengdu in the west, and in Zhengzhou in central China. Apart from assembling iPhone and iPad for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), company also acts as a supplier to Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ).