A report suggests around 20,000 of the 200,000 workers of the largest iPhone factory in Zhengzhou, China, have left the plant after Foxconn decided to give a $1,400 bonus payout for new hires who would leave the job.
This decision was made after a protest on Wednesday highlighted the lack of a promised bonus payment, insufficient food, and risk of getting COVID-19 for those who decided to work extra hours to meet iPhone 14 production demand goals.
The company could now see more than 30% of the site’s November production affected, up from an internal estimate of up to 30% when the factory’s worker troubles started in late October, the source said.
The Zhengzhou plant is the only factory where Foxconn makes premium iPhone models, and it’s unlikely to resume total production by the end of this month.
If COVID-19 lockdowns weren’t enough, some workers claimed they were “misled over compensation benefits at the factory” while others “complained about sharing dormitories with colleagues who had tested positive for COVID. After that, workers protested on Wednesday.
As reported by BGR, Foxconn then apologized and offered a $1,400 payment due to this “technical error” to “protesting new recruits who agreed to resign and leave.”
The problem was that more than 20,000 workers decided to take the money and leave. In the report, Reuters heard sources that said it’s an issue for Foxconn. In contrast, others believe the protest impacted the company’s public image more than production capacity.
“There’s only so much corporate can do on pandemic prevention … It’s been a problem for a while. This is a problem faced by everyone,” the person said, pointing to other worker unrest triggered by rigid COVID restrictions, including upheaval at another Apple supplier, Quanta, in May.
BGR will keep reporting as we learn more about Apple’s struggles at its largest iPhone factory in China.
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