One of Apple’s key iPhone suppliers is paying workers to leave and go home as the company struggles to operate amid worker unrest and COVID-19 lockdowns.
In an employee notice, Foxconn said it would reward newly recruited employees at the Zhengzhou factory with a bonus of 8,000 yuan ($1,100) if they resign immediately and an additional 2,000 yuan ($300) if they board the bus back home. South China Post Office Morning. The bonus of more than a month’s salary for Foxconn workers, according to Bloomberg.
“Some employees remain concerned about the coronavirus and hope to leave their jobs and return home,” Foxconn wrote in its statement, adding that it “deeply understands the concerns” of workers.
Foxconn, the official name is Hon Hai Precision Industrydid not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The announcement was made a few hours after the report of violent protest at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou factory, which uses almost 300,000 people. The workers left their dormitories early Wednesday morning, angry at not being paid and concerned about the spread of COVID. Workers clashed with security officers, and riot police had to restore order.
Foxconn confirms protests have taken place in a statement on Wednesday and denied that COVID-positive workers were in its dormitories.
Zhengzhou officials announced on Wednesday that the city’s metropolitan areas will be send to key from Friday to November 29. The city—sometimes referred to as “iPhone City” due to its key position in Apple’s supply chain—reported nearly 1,000 cases on Wednesday.
Foxconn issued control COVID in late October, including forcing workers to eat in their dormitories, to quell the growing outbreak. Immediately after Foxconn imposed these controls, videos of workers appeared on Chinese social media escape from the factoryJump over fences and hitchhike on passing vehicles.
The exodus of workers forced Foxconn to seek help from the government. Workers who fled Foxconn’s factory told South China Post Office Morning that local village officials called them on behalf of the company, encouraging them to return to work.
Apple warned earlier this month that iPhone production will be lower than expected as it enters the holiday season due to its factories being disrupted. State media reported that Foxconn would need the most 100,000 new workers to restore full operation.
China is battling the outbreak of COVID across the country as the number of cases rises to the highest this year, beat the old record Set in April during Shanghai’s two-month blockade. The whole country reported 29,754 cases on Wednesday.
Widespread outbreaks are a new test of China’s “no COVID” policy, which uses mass testing and lockdowns to completely contain outbreaks. These tough measures are believed to have dragged down the Chinese economy, with both retail sales and factory activity falling over the past month. Nomura economists estimate that the regions that account for one-fifth of China’s GDP are now in some form lock the door.
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