CNN reported on November 24 that the protest of Foxconn workers erupted on Tuesday night, November 22, on its campus in Zhengzhou. Workers protested over the terms of the new hires’ payment packages and COVID-related concerns.
Epochtimes.com said that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) uses closed-loop management to counter COVID for factories and other sectors of the economy. In which workers live and stay in factories and have no contact with the outside world.
A COVID outbreak hit the Zhengzhou plant in October, forcing it to lock down and leading to a mass exodus of workers fleeing the area.
Foxconn later started a massive recruitment campaign in which more than 100,000 registered to fill the advertised positions. Chinese state media reported on this campaign.
On Wednesday, November 23, newly hired workers clashed with many security forces, including SWAT team officers.
Videos on social media showed groups of law enforcement officers
dressed in hazmat suits kicking and hitting protesters with batons and metal rods.
Some workers were seen tearing down fences, throwing bottles and barriers at officers, and smashing and overturning police vehicles.
According to a document setting out the salary package of new hires seen by CNN, the workers were promised a $420 (3,000 yuan) bonus after 30 days on the job, with another $420 to be paid after a total of 60 days.
However, a worker said that after arriving at the plant, Foxconn said they would only receive the first bonus on March 15 and the second part in May.
It means they must work through the Lunar New Year holiday, which starts in January 2023, to get the first bonus payments.
The worker told CNN, “The new recruits had to work more days to get the bonus they were promised, so they felt cheated.”
Foxconn blamed “a technical error (that) occurred during the onboarding process” about salary.
The firm said, “We apologize for an input error in the computer system and guarantee that the actual pay is the same as agreed.”
According to CNN, the firm promised to pay them about $1120 if they agreed to quit Foxconn and another $280 after they board buses to leave the sprawling site altogether.
On November 24, Thursday morning, some workers who had agreed to leave received the first part of the payment.
A worker said in a Livestream showing workers lining up to take COVID tests while waiting for departing buses.
However, Zhengzhou was put under a five-day lockdown in its urban districts, which include the train station, starting from midnight Friday, November 25.
On Thursday afternoon, November 24, many couldn’t get a ticket home after being driven to the Zhengzhou train station. As a result, thousands of workers were stuck at the station.