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iPhone maker apologizes after massive protests at factory in China

Apple supplier Foxconn has apologized for a “technical glitch” in its payment systems, a day after its iPhone factory in China was rocked by angry protests.

Videos had shown hundreds of workers marching at the world’s largest iPhone factory in the city of Zhengzhou, with complaints about Covid restrictions and calls for overdue pay.

Those who live-streamed the protests said workers were beaten by police.

A Foxconn employee told the BBC that the situation has now been resolved.

Last month, the factory went into lockdown due to rising Covid cases, prompting some workers to break out and go home. The company then recruited new employees with promises of generous bonuses.

However, one worker said those contracts were changed so they “could not receive the promised subsidy,” adding that they were quarantined without food.

On Thursday, Foxconn released a statement saying “a technical error occurred during the onboarding process,” adding that new hire pay was “as agreed.” [in the] official recruitment posters”.

The company said it is in constant communication with affected employees about pay and bonuses and is doing its best “to actively resolve employees’ concerns and reasonable claims.”

A worker also told the BBC on Thursday that he has since received 8,000 yuan (US$1,120; £926) and will receive another 2,000 yuan. He added that there were no more protesters and that he and his colleagues would return to the Foxconn factory.

The Zhengzhou plant employs more than 200,000 people who manufacture Apple devices like the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max.

Separately, authorities on Thursday ordered the city locked down and said people could only leave the area if they tested negative for Covid – which has affected more than six million people in the city.

It came as China recorded its highest number of daily Covid cases since the pandemic began, with the country experiencing a wave of outbreaks that have hit several major cities including Beijing and Guangzhou.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has urged China to recalibrate its zero-Covid strategy as its economic growth shrinks.

The gross domestic product (GDP) of the world’s second largest economy fell by 2.6% quarter-on-quarter in the three months to the end of June.

“Although the zero-Covid strategy has become more nimble over time, the combination of more contagious Covid variants and ongoing gaps in vaccinations has resulted in the need for more frequent lockdowns, hampering consumption and private investment, including housing , burdened,” said the IMF.

The global financial organization also called on Beijing to vaccinate more people and further relieve the crisis-hit real estate sector.

However, some analysts believe the IMF’s guidance will not persuade China to change its policies.

“Given that China is unlikely to ask the IMF for help, it doesn’t matter whether they heed that statement or not,” Simon Baptist, the Economist Intelligence Unit’s chief global economist, told the BBC.

Source – BBC

-Agencies

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