November 23 (Reuters) – Hundreds of workers joined protests at Foxconn’s (2317.TW) flagship iPhone factory in China on Wednesday in the latest upheaval over tight COVID-19 controls.
Here’s a timeline of the problems at the world’s largest iPhone factory, located in the central city of Zhengzhou in China.
Amid rising COVID-19 cases in Zhengzhou, Foxconn is placing the plant’s 200,000 workers under closed-loop management – a system where staff live and work onsite isolated from the rest of the world.
Foxconn tightens COVID-19 restrictions at the factory, but says production remains normal.
Migrant workers began fleeing the factory campus and returning to their hometowns. Cities in central China are hastily drawing up plans to isolate them, fearing they could spark COVID outbreaks.
Production of Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) iPhones could drop by up to 30% at the factory in November due to tighter COVID restrictions, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
Foxconn says it has quadrupled bonuses offered to factory workers as it seeks to assuage discontent over COVID restrictions and retain staff.
China orders the Zhengzhou industrial park that houses the Foxconn factory to enter a seven-day lockdown.
Apple says it expects lower shipments of high-end iPhone 14 models than previously expected following a major production cut at the Zhengzhou factory, which clouded its sales outlook for the busy holiday season.
The Zhengzhou factory continues to isolate its operations and staff despite lifting a seven-day lockdown for the rest of the industrial park in which it is located.
Foxconn says it expects smartphone revenue to fall in the fourth quarter and is adjusting production to prevent recent COVID restrictions in Zhengzhou from impacting holiday orders.
Footage on social media of the protests shows men wielding batons smashing surveillance cameras and windows. The trigger for the protests appears to have been a plan to delay bonus payments, many protesters said on live streams. Reuters was unable to immediately verify the videos.
Written by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Edwina Gibbs
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