© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of Foxconn is seen outside the company’s building in Taipei, Taiwan November 10, 2022. REUTERS/Ann Wang
SHANGHAI (Reuters) – People describing themselves as Foxconn workers pulled down barriers and argued with hazmat-suited authorities at a COVID-hit plant in the industrial Chinese city of Zhengzhou that belongs to the Apple Inc (NASDAQ:) supplier, scenes broadcast live on the Kuaishou short video platform showed on Wednesday.
The videos showed more than a hundred people clustered outside and coming face to face with dozens of hazmat-suited officials, who they said were police. Some videos showed workers complaining about the food they had been provided while others said they had not been paid bonuses as promised.
Reuters was not immediately able to verify the authenticity of the videos. Foxconn did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Zhengzhou plant is the world’s largest iPhone factory with some 200,000 workers.
Since late Ocober, many workers have fled – their escapes captured on social media – as frustration mounted over how COVID cases were handled and over the treatment of employees, including what they said were insufficient provisions of food.
In a bid to restore production, the manufacturer began a drive to convince workers to stay and to recruit more staff, promising higher per-hour salaries and bonuses.
It has maintained so-called closed-loop operations at the plant – a system in which staff live and work on-site isolated from the wider world – due to the COVID situation in Zhengzhou.
The curbs and discontent have hit production, prompting Apple Inc to say earlier this month that it expected lower shipments of premium iPhone 14 models.