- Protests have raged at Foxconn’s massive iPhone manufacturing facility in China amid strict COVID rules.
- So many workers are leaving the plant that Apple now expects a significant loss of production.
- To ease the growing brain drain, some are being offered $1,800 to stay at the facility.
Foxconn, a Chinese company that operates the world’s largest iPhone factory, is offering some workers $1,800 in bonuses to keep them on the job amid unrest over China’s zero-COVID strategy and strict lockdowns at the Zhengzhou plant remain, according to Bloomberg.
Workers have protested, sometimes violently, in recent weeks in response to strict protocols imposed on workers during a significant COVID outbreak at the plant, which employs up to 200,000 workers, most of whom live in on-site dormitories, earning it the nickname “iPhone “ has brought town.”
Last month, Foxconn rolled out a “closed-loop system” due to the country’s zero-COVID strategy, which sparked riots across China this weekend.
Infected workers could not leave their dormitories and received only basic necessities such as bread and instant noodles, leading to hundreds of refugees. Bloomberg reported on a brother and sister who walked 25 miles down a highway to escape the Foxconn facility.
The unrest then turned into a riot on November 22 when Foxconn workers were filmed fighting security forces. Rioters threw metal barricades at officers and smashed surveillance cameras.
—Sky News (@SkyNews) November 24, 2022
To calm tensions, Foxconn offered protesters $1,400 to leave — more than the average monthly wage for factory workers, according to Bloomberg.
The company had previously offered new workers a $420 bonus if they worked 30 days, but workers rebelled after being told it would be delayed until March 2023, according to Reuters. These newer workers set off the dramatic scenes and over 20,000 of them have since left.
As a result, iPhone City appears to be struggling to maintain staff numbers, and those who stay are being offered a new $1,800 bonus — but recipients must have joined in early November or earlier.
The bonus of 13,000 yuan is almost double the monthly salary of 6,865 yuan, according to the South China Morning Post, and would be paid in late December and January.
Due to the protests, Apple is expected to record a deficit of 6 million iPhone Pros in the coming months.