Was There A Massive Strike At A Foxconn Factory Yesterday?

Has unrest again hit Foxconn? New York-based advocacy group China Labor Watch reports that yesterday at about 1 pm in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province, “three to four thousand production workers” went on strike after Foxconn demanded they work holidays and “raised overly strict demands on product quality without providing worker training for the corresponding skills.”

The majority of workers who participated in this strike were workers from the OQC (onsite quality control) line. According to workers, multiple iPhone 5 production lines from various factory buildings were in a state of paralysis for the entire day.  It was reported that factory management and Apple, despite design defects, raised strict quality demands on workers, including indentations standards of 0.02mm and demands related to scratches on frames and back covers. With such demands, employees could not even turn out iPhones that met the standard. This led to a tremendous amount of pressure on workers. On top of this, they were not permitted to have a vacation during the holiday. This combination of factors led to the strike.

The story has been picked up by several English-language outlets, because Foxconn is one of the only Chinese factories (the only?) Western readers recognize. But Chinese news sites have reported this as well, notably Sohu Business and Sina (from which the above picture comes), which leads one to believe that if not quite a strike, there was a work stoppage — a rare display of worker solidarity. There’s risk in assuming too much, though, so we’ll stop.

Foxconn, for its part, denies there was any strike:

But Foxconn Technology Group, which has its headquarters in Taiwan, denied the report and said the plant suffered only two brief and small disputes several days earlier.

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

Updates as they become available. For now, here’s the entire China Labor Watch press release:

(New York) China Labor Watch (CLW) announced that at 1:00PM on October 5 (Beijing time), a strike occurred at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou factory that, according to workers, involved three to four thousand production workers. In addition to demanding that workers work during the holiday, Foxconn raised overly strict demands on product quality without providing worker training for the corresponding skills. This led to workers turning out products that did not meet standards and ultimately put a tremendous amount of pressure on workers. Additionally, quality control inspectors fell into to conflicts with workers and were beat up multiple times by workers. Factory management turned a deaf ear to complaints about these conflicts and took no corrective measures. The result of both of these circumstances was a widespread work stoppage on the factory floor among workers and inspectors.

The majority of workers who participated in this strike were workers from the OQC (onsite quality control) line. According to workers, multiple iPhone 5 production lines from various factory buildings were in a state of paralysis for the entire day.  It was reported that factory management and Apple, despite design defects, raised strict quality demands on workers, including indentations standards of 0.02mm and demands related to scratches on frames and back covers. With such demands, employees could not even turn out iPhones that met the standard. This led to a tremendous amount of pressure on workers. On top of this, they were not permitted to have a vacation during the holiday. This combination of factors led to the strike.

That quality control inspectors would also strike is of no surprise. According to workers, there was a fight between workers and quality control inspectors in area K that led to the damage in inspection room CA, the injury of some people, and the hospitalization of others. After this, another similar incident occurred in area K, once again leading to quality control inspectors getting beat up. Yesterday, inspectors in area L received physical threats. When inspectors reported these issues to factory management, the management simply ignored and turned their back on the issue. For these reasons, all day and night shift inspectors carried out a work stoppage today that paralyzed the production lines.

CLW Executive Director Li Qiang said, “This strike is a result of the fact that these workers just have too much pressure.”

(H/T Gizmodo via Alicia)

4 Responses to “Was There A Massive Strike At A Foxconn Factory Yesterday?”

  1. name

    I think in this case, the news are just as important as the action. In order to gain negotiating power, the point is not merely to damage a company by means of reducing productivity. It is crucial to prove to the world that, without protection of worker’s rights and welfare, this model of production is not reliable, that is: the workers are not ready to accept everything as long as they can work. Other suppliers beside Foxconn, other multinationals beside Apple, customers of these and other Chinese-made OEM must know this is not sustainable, and that other workers will rise to defend their rights. If there is a massive strike but nobody reports it, it’s been almost in vain. If there isn’t, but the fear of labour movements spread, the aim has been partly achieved.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


9 − nine =