Speed Reads

Problems in China

Pay dispute causes mass protests at world's largest iPhone factory

Pay disputes triggered mass protests at the world's largest iPhone factory in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. 

Videos obtained by numerous outlets, including BBC News and The Verge, purported to show hundreds of workers marching at the city's Foxconn factory. The world's largest producer of tech and electronics, Foxconn oversees the production of numerous Apple products, including iPhones and iPads, as well as devices for competitors such as Microsoft and Google. 

The protests reportedly began when Foxconn announced plans to delay previously promised bonus payments. This news caused violence to break out, with The Associated Press reporting that protesters were seen smashing windows and fighting with riot police. Some videos appeared to show protesters being beaten by law enforcement. 

Many of the protesters were reportedly new employees that had been brought in to try and ramp up production after thousands left the factory in October due to concerns over COVID-19 safety measuresAP reported. 

By Wednesday evening, Foxconn was reportedly using desperate measures to try and quell the violence. According to the South China Morning Postthe company even offered newly hired workers $1,400 to quit their jobs. 

Foxconn addressed the unrest in a press release, confirming that protests had occurred. "Some new hires ... appealed to the company regarding the work allowance, which they had doubts about," Foxconn said. "The company has emphasized that the allowance has always been fulfilled based on contractual obligation and will continue to communicate with relevant colleagues."