Men with canes smash surveillance cameras at China’s iPhone factory

SHANGHAI, Nov 23 (Reuters) – Men with sticks smashed surveillance cameras and windows at a huge campus owned by Apple ( AAPL.O ) supplier Foxconn ( 2317.TW ) in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou, scenes broadcast live on Kuaishou- the short video the platform showed on Wednesday.

Hundreds of workers protested on the campus, home to the world̵[ads1]7;s largest iPhone factory, with many chanting “give us our wages”. They were surrounded by people in full hazmat suits, some carrying batons.

The images, which could not be immediately verified by Reuters, come after weeks of unrest that have seen many employees flee the factory due to COVID-19 controls.

Many former workers have spoken out about food shortages and rigid quarantine rules, and Foxconn has had to offer incentives including bonuses to retain or lure workers. read more

Several people said on the live streams that they protested after being informed this week that they would receive their bonuses later than initially promised.

“Foxconn never treats people like people,” one person said in social media footage of the scenes.

Two sources with knowledge of the matter said there were protests at the Zhengzhou campus, but declined to give further details.

Foxconn and Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

As of 0515 GMT, most of the footage had been taken down. Kuaishou did not respond to a request for comment.

Some videos showed people pulling down barriers set up in quarantine areas as part of China’s zero-COVID policy, or arguing with hazmat-suited personnel.

Other videos showed workers complaining about the food they had been provided while in quarantine or complaining that there were not adequate curbs in place to contain an outbreak.

Relentless controls and lockdowns across China have fueled discontent across the country, hammered economic growth and escalated concerns over global supply chains as companies scramble to keep factories running as workers become infected.

Foxconn has maintained so-called closed circuits at the plant – a system where employees live and work on site in isolation from the outside world – due to the covid outbreak in Zhengzhou.

The curbs and discontent have hit production, prompting Apple to say earlier this month that it expected lower shipments of premium iPhone 14 models.

Foxconn, formally Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, is Apple’s largest iPhone manufacturer, accounting for 70% of iPhone shipments globally. It makes most of its phones at its Zhengzhou factory where it employs about 200,000 people, although it has other smaller production sites in India and southern China.

Reporting by Brenda Goh and Beijing Newsroom; Additional reporting by David Kirton in Shenzhen and Yimou Lee in Taipei; Editing by Edmund Klamann and Edwina Gibbs

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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