Apple supplier Foxconn offered protesting workers $1,400 each to quit their jobs and leave 'iPhone city', report says

Worker's fleeing Foxconn
Foxconn employees take buses to their home towns after a COVID-19 outbreak in Zhengzhou last month.Getty Images
  • Protests erupted this week at Foxconn's Zhengzhou plant over withheld pay and COVID-19 restrictions.

  • The company has offered workers 10,000 yuan ($1,400) to quit their jobs and leave the factory.

  • The plant, which has 200,000 workers, is the world's largest iPhone factory.

The Chinese company that makes iPhones for Apple has offered 10,000 yuan ($1,400) to protesting staff if they quit their jobs and leave its vast factory in Zhengzhou, CNN reported.

Videos posted to social media showed violent clashes between workers and security forces at Foxconn's plant in Zhengzhou, the location of a recent COVID-19 outbreak.

Protests erupted at the sprawling factory complex on Tuesday and Wednesday over withheld pay and harsh pandemic-related restrictions. Video footage shows security officers, clad in protective suits, kicking and beating workers.

On Wednesday, in a message seen by CNN, Foxconn asked rioting workers to "please return to your dormitories" and promised to pay employees a settlement of 8,000 yuan ($1,120) if they quit. The company also pledged an additional 2,000 yuan ($280) if the workers left the plant on buses.

The payout is more than the average monthly wage for workers at the factory, Bloomberg reported

Tensions have been brewing at Foxconn's Zhengzhou plant since an outbreak of the virus late last month.

Before the outbreak the plant employed about 200,000 workers who lived in dormitories on-site.

On October 26, Foxconn adopted a "closed loop system" — in line with China's controversial zero-COVID strategy — that severely restricted their movements and even forced some to sleep on factory floors. The draconian restrictions resulted in many workers fleeing the compound.

In a bid to lure employees back earlier this month, Foxconn offered new recruits a 3,000 yuan ($420) subsidy if they completed 30 days of work and pledged to double the payment if they stayed for 60 days, CNN reported.

This week's protests erupted after workers were told that these payments wouldn't be made until March and May next year, Reuters reported.

In a statement to Reuters, Foxconn said its "miscommunication" over promised payment packages was a "technical error."

"Our team has been looking into the matter and discovered a technical error occurred during the onboarding process. We apologize for an input error in the computer system and guarantee that the actual pay is the same as agreed and the official recruitment posters."

In a statement to CNN, Apple — Foxconn's largest customer — said it was "working closely with Foxconn to ensure their employees' concerns are addressed."

Apple and Foxconn did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider.

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