iPhone 5 production at Foxconn mired by strike according to labor group’s report

A significant number of factory workers running in thousands at Foxconn have gone on strike on Friday. The news was first broke out by an independent labor rights organization.

It was the Foxconn’s Zhengzhou, China plant where workers were not in favor of the stricter quality standards enforced upon them by the management for the new Apple iPhone 5. It was the China Labor Watch (CLW) report that first disclosed the incident on late Friday.

Production was halted for several hours because of the incident and “paralyzed the production lines” according to the Foxconn officials.

Workers taking part in the unrest were mainly from the iPhone 5 quality control line. Workers and inspectors argued with each other and in some cases arguments turned physical also leading to hospitalization for some according to CLW.

State-run news agency of China, Xinhua also reported of the clash. Xinhua also reported of the refusal to go back to work by around 100 inspectors without naming its source in the government.

There is conflict on the duration of the outage caused by the incident as workers told CLW that work was disturbed from mid-day on Friday to the whole of next day, whereas Xinhua source said that the outage took place for an hour only.

The official statement from Foxconn has however declined both the reports and confirmed the clashes to have taken place in its premises earlier in the week.

Foxconn statement said, “Any reports that there has been an employee strike are inaccurate,” and “There has been no workplace stoppage in that facility or any other Foxconn facility and production has continued on schedule.”

According to Foxconn clashes took place in the Zhengzhou plant on Oct 1st and 2nd between a small group of production line workers and quality control inspectors and any other report regarding the incident is not accurate.

Foxconn said, “These were isolated incidents and were immediately addressed and measures taken, including providing additional staff for the lines in question,” and “This is consistent with our efforts to work with our employees to continuously enhance any aspects of our production that can improve the workplace and manufacturing practices.”

CNET that had recently been to the Zhengzhou complex of Foxconn says that the complex has nearly 190,000 workers.

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook also stopped by at the plant in March this year.

Xinhua and CLW were however on the same page in pointing out the cause of disagreement over new quality standards as responsible for the clash.

According to CLW the new quality standards demanded precision of as much as two-hundredth of a millimeter which was unacceptable to the workers.

The CLW report also said, “Employees could not even turn out iPhones that met the standard,” because of some “design defects” in iPhone 5.

The government spokesperson from Zhengzhou told Xinhua that Apple ordered strict standards after receiving complaints on “aesthetic flaws” in iPhone 5.

Apple didn’t respond to any questions sent by team CNNMoney on the incident.

CLW program assistant Bessie Chang said that it was the China Staff of their organization that first heard of the strike rumors. CLW director Li Qiang spoke to their sources within Foxconn to verify the incident before pursuing it.

Another reason supporting the incidence of clash, according to CLW, is not allowing the recent semi-annual Golden Week holiday of three days to the     employees for which they are also paid-up.

Source: CNN Money

Photo: Reuters, AP Images, The Guardian


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