Foxconn denies workers went on strike at plant

Updated: 2012-10-07 07:50

By Agencies(China Daily)

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Labor group claims up to 4,000 workers at factory walked off job

A major supplier for tech giant Apple on Saturday denied reports that thousands of workers making components for the iPhone 5 went on strike at the company's plant in Zhengzhou, Henan province.

New York-based labor group China Labor Watch had said 3,000 to 4,000 workers walked out of the factory on Friday afternoon, angered by the stricter quality-control demands for Apple's iPhone 5 assembly line and not being permitted to take vacations during the week-long National Day holiday.

The strike was said to have started at 1 pm Friday and continued to 11 pm, involving workers mainly from assembly lines and quality-control inspectors.

"Foxconn raised overly-strict demands on product quality without providing worker training for the corresponding skills. This led to workers turning out products that did not meet standards, and ultimately put a tremendous amount of pressure on workers," China Labor Watch said in a statement.

The organization said Apple pressed ahead with production demands despite design problems. The new quality demands included "indentation standards of 0.02 mm and demands related to scratches on frames and back covers", China Labor Watch said.

"This strike is a result of the fact that these workers just have too much pressure," said Li Qiang, China Labor Watch's executive director.

According to the statement, production workers and the quality-control inspectors got into brawls, leaving some workers hospitalized. The factory management "simply ignored and turned their backs" when inspectors reported the brawls to them.

The statement also said that many iPhone 5 production lines from various factory buildings were paralyzed for a whole day because of the large-scale strike.

But Foxconn Technology Group, an electronic giant assembling Apple's products, denied the report of a large-scale strike on Saturday, saying the plant suffered only two brief and small disputes during Oct 1 to 2.

Foxconn said the brawls several days earlier were "isolated incidents and were immediately addressed and measures taken, including providing additional staff for the lines in question."

"Any reports that there has been an employee strike are inaccurate. There has been no workplace stoppage in that facility or any other Foxconn facility and production has continued on schedule," the company said in an e-mailed statement.

Foxconn also said that employees who worked during the National Day holiday did so voluntarily and were paid three times their usual hourly compensation, as demanded by law.

Foxconn Technology Group is the world's largest maker of computer components. It assembles products for electronics brand names like Apple, Sony, Intel and Nokia. It employs about 1 million workers on the Chinese mainland.

Foxconn has been under fire for its poor working conditions, low salary and harsh management.

In September, clashes broke out at Foxconn's plant in Taiyuan, capital of North China's Shanxi province, leaving 40 people injured, after the plant's security staff members beat up an employee. The clashes led to a 24-hour shutdown.

In June, more than 1,000 workers engaged in riots with security staff in Foxconn's factory in Chengdu, capital of Southwest China's Sichuan province. Hundreds of police came to the factory and arrested 10 people.

In 2010, at least 13 Foxconn employees in Foxconn's Shenzhen plants died in apparent suicides, which were blamed on tough working conditions, prompting calls for better treatment of workers.

China Daily contributed to this story

(China Daily 10/07/2012 page2)