Over 20,000 Employee, Mostly New Hires At Apple Supplier Foxconn Quit: Report

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Foxconn launched a hiring drive this month, promising bonuses and higher salaries after it had to enact COVID curbs in October. The restrictions forced the company to isolate many employees, prompting several to flee.

Over 20,000 Employee, Mostly New Hires At Apple Supplier Foxconn Quit: Report

Taipei: Trouble mounts for Apple supplier Foxconn’s China plant after over 20,000 employees, mostly the new hires not yet working on production lines, left the company, a Foxconn source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday.

Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, declined to comment. Apple, which said on Thursday it had staff at the factory, declined to comment on Friday.

Another Foxconn source familiar with the matter said some new hires had left the campus but did not elaborate on how many. This person said the departures had no impact on current production, as the new staff still needed to take training courses before working online.

The unrest at the Foxconn plant comes as China logs record numbers of COVID infections and grapples with increasing lockdowns that have fuelled frustration among citizens across the country. It has also exposed communication problems and a mistrust of Foxconn management among some staff.

Foxconn launched a hiring drive this month, promising bonuses and higher salaries after it had to enact COVID curbs in October. The restrictions forced the company to isolate many employees, prompting several to flee.

The departures from the world’s largest iPhone factory deal a fresh blow to the Taiwanese company that has been grappling with strict COVID-19 restrictions that have fuelled discontent among workers and disrupted production ahead of Christmas and January’s Lunar New Year holiday.

Concerns are also mounting over Apple’s ability to deliver products for the busy holiday period as the worker unrest lingers at the Zhengzhou plant, which produces the U.S. company’s popular iPhone 14 models.

The departures will complicate Foxconn’s target of resuming full production by the end of November, after the sometimes violent unrest, the source said.

In a rare case of open dissent in China, employees have complained about sharing dormitories with colleagues who tested positive for COVID. They claim they were misled over compensation benefits at the factory that accounts for 70% of global iPhone shipments.

Foxconn on Thursday offered 10,000 yuan ($1,400) to protesting recruits who agreed to resign and leave the plant.

The company apologised for a pay-related “technical error” when hiring, which workers say was a factor that led to protests involving clashes with security personnel.

Videos posted on Chinese social media on Friday showed crowds and long lines of luggage-laden workers queuing for buses. “It’s time to go home,” one person posted.

(With Reuters inputs)




Published Date: November 25, 2022 12:37 PM IST

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