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Foxconn iPhone plant in China rocked by fresh worker unrest

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Foxconn iPhone plant in China rocked by fresh worker unrest

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Hundreds of workers joined protests at Foxconn’s flagship iPhone plant in China, with some men smashing surveillance cameras and windows, footage uploaded on social media showed.

The rare scenes of open dissent in China mark an escalation of unrest at the massive factory in Zhengzhou city that has come to symbolise a dangerous build-up in frustration with the country’s ultra-harsh COVID rules as well as inept handling of the situation by the world’s largest contract manufacturer. The trigger for the protests, which began early on Wednesday, appeared to be a plan to delay bonus payments, many of the demonstrators said on livestream feeds. “Give us our pay!”, chanted workers who were surrounded by people in full hazmat suits, some carrying batons, according to footage from one video. Other footage showed tear gas being deployed and workers taking down quarantine barriers.

Discontent over strict quarantine rules, the company’s inability to stamp out outbreaks and poor conditions including shortages of food has caused workers to flee the factory campus since the Apple Inc supplier imposed a so-called closed loop system at the world’s biggest iPhone plant in late October. Under closed-loop operations, staff live and work on-site isolated from the wider world. Former workers have estimated that thousands fled the factory campus.

Before the unrest, the Zhengzhou plant employed some 2,00,000 people. In the videos, workers vented about how they were never sure if they were going get meals while in quarantine or complained that there were inadequate curbs in place to contain an outbreak.

Chinese cities imposed more curbs on Wednesday to rein in rising coronavirus cases, adding to investor worries about the economy.

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