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Foxconn factory rolls on in spite of strike

By AN BAIJIE and Xiang Mingchao (China Daily)

08:41, October 08, 2012

Foxconn Technology Group said on Sunday that production at a plant in Henan province was not halted by a strike that had occurred two days before and involved about 400 workers.

Liu Kun, spokesman for Foxconn, denied a report issued by the New York-based China Labor Watch that said between 3,000 and 4,000 workers at the Foxconn Zhengzhou factory went on strike on Friday in response to an increase in quality control demands. Liu said the dispute between workers and quality inspectors involved more than 400 people and ended within two hours.

"This went beyond anything I had expected," he said. "I wouldn’t encourage workers to resort to these kinds of extreme measures to claim their rights."

Workers were moved among production lines during the dispute, preventing the factory’s operations from being brought to a halt, he said.

A spokesman for the management committee of the Xinzheng Comprehensive Bonded Area, which contains the plant, told Xinhua News Agency that Apple Inc has required Foxconn to perform stricter quality inspections on the iPhone 5 products it makes for Apple, a demand that comes in response to complaints customers have made about the phones’ aesthetics.

Workers at the plant have in turn said the new standards are too rigorous, a grievance that gave rise to the disputes, Xinhua reported.

On Friday morning, more than 100 quality inspectors refused to go to work at the plant after hearing that one of their colleagues had been assaulted by employees there, The Beijing News reported.

Liu declined to elaborate on the stricter inspection standards that have been adopted for the iPhone 5.

China Labor Watch said workers at the plant have not received the sort of training they need to comply with the new demands they are now subject to.

Liu said the company plans to provide more training to improve workers’ capabilities.

Liu said that flaws exist in the company’s management system and that workers who make appeals can’t always be satisfied.

"The grassroots managers are required to communicate with workers in a timely way to prevent angry sentiments from welling up," he said.

The world’s largest maker of computer components and an important supplier to Apple Inc, Foxconn employs about 1 million people on the Chinese mainland. More than 100,000 of them work at its Zhengzhou factory.

In a separate case, at least 40 workers were injured on Sept 23 during a conflict involving nearly 2,000 people in a Foxconn plant in Taiyuan, Shanxi province.

An initial investigation found that the clash occurred when workers from Shandong province fought their colleagues from Henan province, according to a Xinhua report.

In 2010, at least 13 workers in the Shenzhen Foxconn plant died in separate suicide cases.
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