Foxconn factory in Zhengzhou under fire for employee treatment

Protests over mistreatment, misleading hiring and improper payments at Foxconn's I-Phone Factory in Zhengzhou, China

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The Foxconn factory in Zhengzhou province, known as the “I-Phone city,” is facing protests from its employees due to allegations of mistreatment, misleading hiring ads, and improper salary payments, according to a report by Voices Against Autocracy (VOA). The factory is a major supplier of iPhones and is crucial for Apple’s supply chain.

According to the report, Foxconn workers earn a salary of approximately 2,200 Yuan (USD 324) per month, which is not enough to make ends meet. However, during peak production seasons, Foxconn offers overtime pay and bonuses to ensure its assembly line runs smoothly. The VOA claims that when the peak season ends, Foxconn cuts down on overtime bonuses in an attempt to reduce overall bonuses.

In 2022, Foxconn launched an aggressive recruitment campaign to fill positions left vacant due to the departure of workers who had protested the poor working conditions, including confusion over wages and bonuses, Covid-19 quarantine protocols, and filthy living conditions. The company promised new employees a monthly salary of 10,000 yuan (USD 1,474) and bonuses if they worked 10 hours a day for six days a week for two months. However, the VOA claims that Foxconn broke its promise to pay the promised bonuses.

As a result, a massive protest was held by Foxconn employees over the alleged unfair treatment and dishonoured pay agreements. Videos of the protest showed hundreds of workers outside the Foxconn factory in Zhengzhou protesting and police suppressing the demonstration. An interview with a former worker revealed strict working conditions, including strict lunch breaks, a windowless workshop with a strong chlorine smell, and the requirement to wear an antistatic gown and face mask at all times.

After the protests, Foxconn offered to pay 10,000 yuan (USD 1,400) to newly recruited employees who chose to leave the factory, and vowed to honour its pay agreements. However, nearly 20,000 workers left the company after a violent clash with police. The Chinese media has suppressed the voice of the protesting Foxconn employees, according to the VOA report.

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