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Work resumes as iPhone 5 pressure blamed for brawl

(Shanghai Daily)

08:48, September 26, 2012

A FACTORY in north China owned by the company making Apple's new iPhone 5 resumed production yesterday after a brawl by workers highlighted tensions that labor groups say were worsened by the pressure of the new iPhone launch.

Foxconn Technology Group and police said the cause of the unrest on Sunday night was under investigation, but labor activists said the rollout of the iPhone 5 had led to longer working hours and more pressure on workers.

Foxconn and police said as many as 2,000 employees were involved in the brawl and 40 people were injured.

The new phone debuted last week in the United States and eight other markets and Apple has a three to four-week backlog of online orders.

Foxconn declined to say whether its one-day suspension of production in Taiyuan City on Monday might affect supplies. It did not respond to a request for comment on the labor groups' claims.

News reports and witnesses said the violence in Taiyuan stemmed from a confrontation between a factory worker and a guard that escalated.

One employee said the violence was fueled by workers' anger at mistreatment by Foxconn security guards and managers.

"Foxconn, some supervisors, and security guards never respect us," said the employee, who asked not to be identified. "We all have this anger toward them and they (the workers) wanted to destroy things to release this anger."

Foxconn did not respond to a request for information on the status of its investigation or whether policies at the factory might change.

The company, owned by Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, is the world's biggest assembler of consumer electronics, with about 1.2 million workers in factories in Taiyuan, the southern city of Shenzhen, Chengdu in the southwest and Zhengzhou in central China.

It makes iPhones and iPads for Apple and also assembles products for Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard.

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