Foxconn has offered to pay newly hired workers 10,000 yuan ($1,400) to quit and leave the world’s largest iPhone assembly plant, in an effort to quell protests that have seen hundreds clash with security forces in central China. saw
The Apple supplier made the offer in a text message sent to employees from its human resources department on Wednesday after dramatic scenes of violent protests at its campus in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan province.
In the message, seen by CNN, the company asked employees to “please return to your dorms” on campus. It also promised to pay them 8,000 yuan if they agreed to leave Foxconn, and another 2,000 yuan after they boarded buses to leave the sprawling site entirely.
Protests erupted on Tuesday night over new recruits’ pay packages and Covid-related conditions Concerned about their living conditions. Scenes turned increasingly violent on Wednesday as workers clashed in large numbers Security forces, including SWAT team officers.
Videos circulating on social media show groups of law enforcement officers wearing hazmat suits and beating protesters with batons and metal rods. Some workers were seen breaking down fences, throwing bottles and barriers at officers, and smashing and tossing police cars.
A witness told CNN that the protest largely ended around 10 p.m. Wednesday when workers returned to their dormitories, receiving Foxconn’s payment offer and fearing a crackdown by officials.
The Zhengzhou factory was hit by the Covid outbreak in October, which forced it to close and led to a mass exodus of workers fleeing the pandemic. After Foxconn Chinese state media reported that a massive recruitment drive had begun, with more than 100,000 people signing up to fill advertised positions.
According to a document outlining the new hires’ pay package seen by CNN, workers were promised a 3,000 yuan bonus after 30 days on the job and another 3,000 yuan would be paid after 60 days.
However, according to one employee, after arriving at Bhutto, Foxconn’s new hires were told that they would receive their first bonus only on March 15, and the second installment in May. do – meaning they must work through the Lunar New Year holiday, which begins in January 2023, to receive the first bonus payments.
“The new hires had to work extra days to get the bonus they were promised, so they felt cheated,” the worker told CNN.
In a statement on Thursday, Foxconn said it was fully aware of the new hires’ concerns about “potential changes in the subsidy policy”, which it attributed to a “technical error (that) caused the onboarding process”. Occurred in the course of”.
“We apologize for the input error in the computer system and guarantee that the actual salary is as agreed.”
Foxconn has been talking to employees and assured them that salaries and bonuses will be paid “in accordance with company policies.”
Apple, for which Foxconn manufactures a range of products, told CNN Business that employees were on the ground at the Zhengzhou facility.
“We are reviewing the situation and working closely with Foxconn to ensure that their employees’ concerns are addressed.” It said in a statement.
By Thursday morning, some workers who had agreed to walk out had received their first payment, one worker said on a live stream, which showed workers queuing outside. to take a covid test while they wait for departing buses. Later in the day, live streams showed long lines of workers boarding buses.
But for some, the problem is far from over. After being taken to Zhengzhou train station, many could not get a ticket home, another worker said live on Thursday afternoon. Like him, thousands of workers were stuck at the station, he said, as he turned his camera to show the huge crowd.
Zhengzhou is set to implement a five-day lockdown in its urban districts, which includes the railway station, starting at midnight on Friday, officials had previously announced.
The protest began Tuesday night outside a worker dormitory on Foxconn’s sprawling campus, with hundreds protesting and chanting slogans including “Down with Foxconn,” according to social media videos and a witness account. Videos show workers clashing with security guards and being fired with tear gas by police.
The chaos continued until Wednesday morning. The situation quickly escalated when a large number of security forces, mostly in white hazmat suits and some carrying shields and shields, were dispatched to the scene. Videos showed columns of police cars, some marked “SWAT,” arriving at the campus, usually home to 200,000 workers.
Other workers joined the protest after watching live streams on the video platforms Quaisho and Duin, the Chinese version of TikTok, the worker told CNN. Many live streams have been cut off or censored. Online searches for “Faxcon” in Chinese have been limited.
The worker said some protesters went to the main entrance of the manufacturing facility building, which is located in a separate area from the workers’ room, in an attempt to stop the meeting.
Other protesters took another step to break into the manufacturing facility. According to the worker they broke the covid testing booths, glass doors and advertisement boards in the restaurants in the production area.
Having worked at the Zhengzhou factory for six years, he said he is now deeply disappointed by Foxconn and plans to leave. With a basic monthly salary of 2,300 yuan, he earned between 4,000 yuan and 5,000 yuan a month, including overtime pay, for working 10 hours a day and seven days a week during the pandemic. in time
“Faxcon is a Taiwanese company,” he said. “Not only did Taiwan’s values of democracy and freedom not spread to the mainland, it was absorbed by the Chinese Communist Party and became very cruel and inhumane. I am very sad about this.”
Although he was not one of the new recruits, he protested their support, adding: “If today I remain silent about the suffering of others, who will speak for me tomorrow?”