iPhone maker Foxconn to pay workers $1400 to quit, flee COVID lockdown

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One of Apple’s major iPhone suppliers is paying workers to quit and go home as it struggles to operate amid worker unrest and COVID lockdowns.

In a notice to staff, Foxconn said it would offer newly hired employees at its Zhengzhou plant an 8,000 yuan ($1,100) bonus for immediate resignation and an additional 2,000 yuan ($300) if they boarded a bus back to their city. native, reports the South China Morning Mail. The bonus is more than a month’s salary for Foxconn workers, according to Bloomberg.

“Some employees are still concerned about the coronavirus and hope to resign and return home,” Foxconn wrote in its notice, saying it “deeply understands the concerns” of its workers.

Foxconn, which is officially known as Hon Hai Precision Industry, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The announcement came hours after reports of violent protests at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou factory, which employs as many as 300,000 people. Workers left their dormitories early Wednesday morning, angry about unpaid wages and worried about the spread of COVID. Workers clashed with security personnel and riot police had to restore order.

Foxconn confirmed that there were protests in a sentence on Wednesday and denied that COVID-positive workers were staying in their dormitories.

COVID lockdowns

Zhengzhou officials announced Wednesday that the city’s urban areas would be sent to confinement from Friday to November 29. The city, sometimes called “iPhone City” because of its key position in Apple’s supply chain, reported nearly 1,000 cases on Wednesday.

Foxconn enacted covid checks in late October, including forcing workers to eat in their dormitories, to quell a growing outbreak. Shortly after Foxconn imposed these controls, videos surfaced on Chinese social media of workers fleeing the factory, jumping fences and hitchhiking on passing vehicles.

The exodus of workers pushed Foxconn to ask the government for help. Workers who fled the Foxconn factory told the South China Morning Mail that local village officials had called them on behalf of the company, encouraging them to return to work.

Apple warned earlier this month that iPhone production would be lower than expected before the holiday season due to disruption at its factories. State media reported that Foxconn would need as many as 100,000 new workers to restore full operations.

China is battling nationwide COVID outbreaks as cases hit their all-time high this year. surpassing the previous record set in April during Shanghai’s punishing two-month lockdown. The country reported 29,754 cases on Wednesday.

The widespread outbreaks are a further test of China’s “COVID-zero” policy, which uses mass testing and lockdowns to completely suppress outbreaks. These tough measures are blamed for weighing on China’s economy, as both retail sales and factory activity have fallen over the past month. Nomura economists estimate that the areas responsible for a fifth of China’s GDP are now in some form of confinement

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