iPhone 5 production: Foxconn workers go on strike as pressure mounts

Producing one of the most sought after pieces of technology in the world can be a daunting task in itself, but for workers at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou factory it has escalated to a new level. In an official statement, China Labor Watch confirmed that workers at the Zhengzhou factory, especially those deployed in the Onsite Quality Control (OQC) line went on strike after being unable to cope with the excess pressure on them. The factory management and Apple, despite design defects, allegedly raised strict quality demands on workers, including those on indentations standards of 0.02mm, and demands pertaining to scratches on frames and back covers. 


Around three to four thousand workers at the unit went on strike after Foxconn allegedly raised the bar on the quality standards to be maintained while producing the iPhone 5, without providing the required training to the workers. This led to the workers producing phones that did not meet the required standards. Reports state that quality control inspectors got involved in a scuffle with the workers and were beaten up several times by the latter. The factory management paid no heed to complaints regarding the conflicts and failed to take any measures. This, in turn, led to work coming to a grinding halt in the factories. 


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Foxconn raised quality standards without training



Moreover, workers weren’t allowed to go on vacation during their holidays, thereby multiplying their discontent.  


The report added, “According to workers, there was a fight between workers and quality control inspectors in area K that led to the damage in inspection room CA, the injury of some people, and the hospitalization of others. After this, another similar incident occurred in area K, once again leading to quality control inspectors getting beat up. Yesterday, inspectors in area L received physical threats. When inspectors reported these issues to factory management, the management simply ignored and turned their back on the issue. For these reasons, all day and night shift inspectors carried out a work stoppage today that paralyzed the production lines.”


Recently, several students in an east China city were pushed to work at a Foxconn plant after classes were suspended at the beginning of a fresh semester. When the factory, run by Taiwan's Foxconn Technology Company failed to get in enough workers to produce the iPhone 5, students from Huai'an in Jiangsu Province were driven in. 


A student at the Huaiyin Institute of Technology, majoring in computing, revealed that 200 students from her school had been forced to work at the factory. She added that students were being paid 1,550 yuan (US $243.97) a month for working six days a week.


A student from Jiangsu Institute of Finance and Economy said that students belonging to departments of Law, English, and Management were working at the plant. A Huai'an University student posting under the name of 'Dalingzhuimengnan' revealed that students were keen to go back to studies, which had been seriously disrupted. The student added further that the Foxconn plant was short of 10,000 workers. 


A post by MengniuIQ84 reveals that schools were ordered to send students to help at the Foxconn factories. Their parents were not informed about it, nor were any agreements signed with the students. 


It has emerged in this entire episode is that some institutions even went as far as punishing students who attempted to leave the factory. It has been known that a couple of students withdrew their internship programs at the factory after media exposure and public pressure. 

Published Date: Oct 06, 2012 12:59 pm | Updated Date: Oct 06, 2012 12:59 pm