Foxconn: World's Biggest iPhone Maker Apologises after Huge Protests at China Plant

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Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant employs more than 200,000 people to produce Apple devices, including the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max.

Apple supplier Foxconn has apologised for a “technical error” in its payment systems, a day after angry protests rocked its iPhone factory in China’s city of Zhengzhou.

Videos had shown hundreds of workers, with complaints over Covid restrictions and claims of overdue pay, marching at the world’s biggest iPhone factory in the city.

According to those live-streaming the protests, police had beaten workers. However, a Foxconn worker said the situation has since been resolved.

In October, rising cases of Covid led to the lockdown of the Zhengzhou factory, prompting some workers to break out and go home and causing Foxconn to recruit new workers with the promise of generous bonuses.

One worker said the contracts were changed so they “could not get the subsidy promised”, adding that they were quarantined without food.

However, in its statement on Thursday, Foxconn said a “technical error occurred during the onboarding process” and added that the pay of new recruits was “the same as agreed [in the] official recruitment posters”.

The company said it was constantly communicating with the affected employees about the pay and bonuses and was doing its best “to actively solve the concerns and reasonable demands of employees”.

A worker, who spoke to the BBC on Thursday, said he had since received 8,000 yuan ($1,120; £926) and was set to receive another 2,000 yuan, adding that there were no more protesters and that he and his colleagues would return to the factory.

Separately on Thursday, Chinese authorities ordered the city to be locked down, saying people would not be able to leave the area unless they had a negative Covid test, an action that affects more than six million people in the city.

The development comes as China recorded its highest number of daily Covid cases since the pandemic began, with the country seeing a wave of outbreaks that affects several major cities like Beijing and Guangzhou.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), which called on China to recalibrate its zero-Covid strategy as its economic growth shrinks, also called on Beijing to vaccinate more people and offer further relief to its crisis-hit property sector.