iPhone production could drop 30 percent after protests at Foxconn factories

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iPhone production at Foxconn’s plant in China’s Zhengzhou city could fall by at least 30 percent after worker unrest disrupted operations, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Friday. The estimate was an upward revision of an October internal forecast for a manufacturing impact of up to 30 percent at the world’s largest iPhone factory, said the source, who sought anonymity because the information was private.

Following the wave of worker unrest at the factory this week, the source added, it was “impossible” for the company to resume full production by the end of the month – a TSTIME it set internally ahead of Wednesday’s wave of protests .

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Foxconn declined to comment.

Earlier on Friday, Reuters reported that more than 20,000 workers, most of them new hires not yet working on the production line, have left Apple supplier Foxconn’s Zhengzhou factory in China, citing a Foxconn source familiar with the case. The person said the departure would complicate the company’s previous goal of resuming full production by the end of November, after worker unrest rocked production at the world’s largest iPhone factory.

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Foxconn has apologized for committing a pay-related “technical error” in hiring new recruits, which employees say was a factor leading to protests with clashes with security personnel.

The labor unrest at the Zhengzhou plant, which began on Wednesday, marked rare scenes of open dissent in China, which workers say were fueled by claims of back wages and frustration over tight COVID-19 restrictions.

Meanwhile, a second Foxconn source familiar with the matter said some new hires had left campus, but did not elaborate on how many. The person said the departure had no impact on current production, as the new staff still had to undergo training before being able to work online.

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Foxconn launched a hiring campaign earlier this month promising bonuses and higher salaries after it was forced to take measures in October to contain the spread of COVID-19. The curbs forced the company to isolate many workers and the conditions in the factory prompted some to flee.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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