Protests erupted Wednesday at the world’s biggest assembly plant for Apple’s iPhones, in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou, according to videos circulating on social media.
Footage showed workers chanting and facing off with authorities at the Foxconn factory. In some videos, police appeared to release tear gas and the employees hit back with fire extinguishers. Semafor has not independently verified the videos.
In other clips, the employees were engaged in violent clashes with authorities wearing all-white protective suits outside the factory.
The protests appeared to be triggered by plans to delay bonus payments to workers, Reuters reported. Dissent has also grown in recent weeks over strict COVID-19 guidelines that require employees to live and work on site to minimize outbreaks.
In a statement to Semafor, Foxconn, a Taiwanese firm, acknowledged that some new hires “had doubts about” pay, which the company said “has always been fulfilled.”
“Regarding any violence, the company will continue to communicate with
employees and the government to prevent similar incidents from
happening again,” Foxconn said.
The protest is the latest instance of rare open dissent in China.
In late October, workers at the same iPhone plant were seen jumping a fence outside the site to escape a COVID-19 lockdown at the facility.
— with Diego Mendoza