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Strike over iPhone 5 demands

By: Sabrina Zolkifi, China
Published: Oct 08, 2012

STRIKE       WORKING ENVIRONMENT

China – Foxconn is in the limelight again as thousands of workers go on strike over working conditions on the iPhone 5 production lines.

According to a report by China Labour Watch (CLW), an independent workers' rights organisation, thousands of workers at Foxconn's plant in Zhengzhou were up in arms last week over their management’s "overly strict demands" for the production of Apple’s latest iPhone.

CLW reported the strike “paralysed the production lines”.

CNNMoney reported a majority of the workers were from the quality control line for the iPhone 5. Xinhua news also reported the strikes got violent, with more than 100 quality inspectors refusing to go to work "after one of the inspectors was allegedly assaulted by the workers, who have been dissatisfied with the new inspection standards".

According to CLW, workers were given strict standards which demanded precision down to increments as small as two-hundredths of a millimetre, CNNMoney reported.

A Zhengzhou government spokesman told Xinhua Apple had ordered the strict inspections after customer complaints over "aesthetic flaws" in the iPhone 5. Apple has not responded to requests for comments by CLW.

Although Xinhua, a Chinese state-run news agency, reported the work was only stopped for an hour, workers told CLW the disruption lasted much longer, from mid-day Friday to Saturday.

Foxconn has released an official statement denying both reports, but admitted to “disputes” earlier in the week.

"Any reports that there has been an employee strike are inaccurate," Foxconn said. "There has been no workplace stoppage in that facility or any other Foxconn facility and production has continued on schedule."

Tensions were already running high at the Foxconn factory after workers were not allowed to take leave over the Golden Week holiday, which typically involved three days paid time off.

However, Foxconn claimed those working during the holiday did so voluntarily and were paid three times their hourly rate, in accordance with Chinese labour laws.
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