Apple criticized for working conditions at iPhone factory in China

Criticism of Apple has grown on social media after thousands of factory workers joined protests at Foxconn’s main iPhone factory in China on Wednesday, some violently clashing with riot police officers.

“Oh no, how can they bankrupt this poor Apple company with a market cap of > $2.3 trillion, with over $40 billion in cash, this poor Apple company, if they agree with Foxconn to raise wages? to raise and improve working conditions,” said one Twitter user.

“Consolidates my loyalty to another phone maker. Apple is evil for being silent,” another wrote.

Chinese Apple
Customers line up at an Apple Store to pick up their order of the new iPhone 14 on September 16, 2022 in Wuhan, Hubei, China. Apple is under fire because of the violent protests that erupted earlier this week at one of the world’s largest iPhone assembly plants in China.
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In a rare show of public discord in China, workers at Foxconn’s iPhone factory in the central city of Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province, left the factory to protest a delay in bonus payments for new hires, better work and living conditions , and COVID safety measures.

In October, the Zhengzhou factory was hit by an outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, leading to a complete shutdown of the factory and an exodus of workers. Now the plant is planned to be partially shut down from Friday midnight to midnight November 29 to curb rising infections.

The demonstrations, which began outside workers’ dormitories on Wednesday, saw demonstrators violently clash with police before calming down late into the night.

On the same day, Foxconn reportedly offered 10,000 Chinese yuan ($1,400) to appease disgruntled migrant workers who wanted to leave “iPhone City” by providing them with free transportation home.

The Taiwanese company also said in a statement that delayed bonuses were due to a “technical error” in its hiring system, and apologized to employees after first claiming they had honored their payment contracts, as reported by Reuters.

“With regard to violence, the company will continue to communicate with employees and the government to prevent similar incidents from happening again,” the company said in the same statement.

Apple, on the other hand, told the New York Times that it was “reviewing the situation” and working with Foxconn “to ensure their employees’ concerns are addressed.”

But the explanation seems far from satisfying critics.

“Funny how these companies raking in billions never make mistakes in favor of the workers, only against them. Whoopsie,” one Twitter user wrote Thursday.

“This is how Americans work, they build factories in other countries and underpay their citizens,” wrote another.

News Week has contacted Apple for comment.

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