China Labor Watch
October 5, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Workers for Fxoconn ZhengZhou
Photograph: Ye Fudao/worker for Foxconn ZhengZhou
(New York) China Labor Watch (CLW) announced that at 1:00PM on October 5 (Beijing time), a strike occurred at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou factory that, according to workers, involved three to four thousand production workers. In addition to demanding that workers work during the holiday, Foxconn raised overly strict demands on product quality without providing worker training for the corresponding skills. This led to workers turning out products that did not meet standards and ultimately put a tremendous amount of pressure on workers. Additionally, quality control inspectors fell into to conflicts with workers and were beat up multiple times by workers. Factory management turned a deaf ear to complaints about these conflicts and took no corrective measures. The result of both of these circumstances was a widespread work stoppage on the factory floor among workers and inspectors.
The majority of workers who participated in this strike were workers from the OQC (onsite quality control) line. According to workers, multiple iPhone 5 production lines from various factory buildings were in a state of paralysis for the entire day. It was reported that factory management and Apple, despite design defects, raised strict quality demands on workers, including indentations standards of 0.02mm and demands related to scratches on frames and back covers. With such demands, employees could not even turn out iPhones that met the standard. This led to a tremendous amount of pressure on workers. On top of this, they were not permitted to have a vacation during the holiday. This combination of factors led to the strike.
That quality control inspectors would also strike is of no surprise. According to workers, there was a fight between workers and quality control inspectors in area K that led to the damage in inspection room CA, the injury of some people, and the hospitalization of others. After this, another similar incident occurred in area K, once again leading to quality control inspectors getting beat up. Yesterday, inspectors in area L received physical threats. When inspectors reported these issues to factory management, the management simply ignored and turned their back on the issue. For these reasons, all day and night shift inspectors carried out a work stoppage today that paralyzed the production lines.
CLW Executive Director Li Qiang said, “This strike is a result of the fact that these workers just have too much pressure.”
China Business Journal confirmed that 3,000 to 4,000 workers refused to work at Foxconn ZhengZhou
After CLW released a press release on October 5th on a strike occurred in Foxconn ZhengZhou, we received some doubts on the number of workers who participated in the strike. Today, China Business Journal published a report on the strike, they interviewed many workers in Foxconn ZhengZhou, part of this article confirmed our press release.
We translated some parts of their article which are related with our press release. For more details, please have a look at this link. We are planning to translate the whole article nest week. http://tech.sina.com.cn/it/2012-10-14/09257700137.shtml
WangChunpei ( A worker who has been working in Foxconn for 7-8 years. He’s responsible for recruiting new workers.) received some phone calls and messages from some workers who stopped work, asking him not to recruit new workers anymore, instead joining the strike. Wang Chunpei said that there were 3,000-4,000 workers who refused to work overtime. He told the reporter that until October 6th evening, there were still many workers who refused to work. It is until 12 am that those workers who refused to work were “suppressed” by Foxconn guards. Some of the organizer of the strike had to resign. The head of a production line who initially had a conflict with workers “cannot work there any longer as well”.
But the reporter confirmed through investigation, this time several hundreds of workers were directly involved in the conflicts, and there are also 3,000-4,000 workers who protest by refusing to go to work, the whole incident lasts nearly 2 days.
A number of workers verified that, it is due to the previously stated reasons that lead to a conflict initially erupted in a production line in K district number 06 second floor at around noon on October 5th. A large number of workers went to protest in Foxconn management district. Some of the works saw that “the head of one production line who wears red were beaten up”.
This is a relatively comprehensivert report from The Economic Overserver (China). This report interviewed many workers in Foxconn ZhengZhou, including some workers who participated in the strike on October 5th. According to this report, because some of the qality inspectors were beaten up, they start to organize this strike from October 2nd. The strike started on October 5th. The followingis a weblink to the article. We are translating this article.
According to the information CLW received from workers in Foxconn ZhengZhou, After the strike, Foxconn is taking measures to resolve the comflicts between production line workers and quality inspectors. They have increased the number of workers on production line.
Update: October 8
According to several Chinese reports, Foxconn spokesman said that around 400 workers were absent from work. I am doubtful of whether this number is true. The details people neglected is that these 400 workers are workers who didn’t come back to work on October 5th until the second day. On October 5th, according to several of our information resources, we confirmed that there were 3000-4000 workers who participated in the strike. Foxconn spokesman used a word which can be translated as “union expression” of the workers, however, they forgot to mention how many workers are involved in this “union expression”.
In fact, the production line in Foxconn is a streamline, if these workers stopped, there must be some stoppage of their production line. I believe that they put more workers on the production line, but I don’t think it is possible for them to continue the production completely. I’ve worked in a streamline before. In a stream line of 23 workers, if two workers left, the production line has to stop. In the 3 branch factories involved in this incident, there are around 7,000 quality inspectors in total.
I believe that some workers work overtime voluntarily. But some of the workers have to go to work because they work in a stream line. If they don’t go to work, they will get a lot of pressure from both the factories and their colleagues who are willing to work overtime.
Update: October 6
From October 1st to October 8th, it is the national Holiday in China. Foxcom required workers in the ZhengZhou Factory to work during this time to meet the production demand of iphone 5. On October 5th, workers from the OQC (onsite quality control) line went to the factory and then left due to the conflicts. Foxcom denied that these workers strike. However, according to the workers, they went on strike instead of not volunteering to work overtime. October 5th is a holiday, the workers are paid 3 times their normal pay. These workers went back to work on Saturday.
Update: October 7,2012
According to the information provided to us by 3 workers at Foxconn Zhengzhou. On October 5th, at the beginning, over 300 quality inspectors refused to swipe their cards and go to work in the morning. Later on, quality inspectors from 3 branch factories start to participate in the strike. The workers told us that there are around 100 quality inspectors per production workshop, and more than 70 production workshops were involved. At the peak of the incident, around 3000-4,000 workers participated in the strike. Later on, the company authorities get involved and promised they would deal with their requests seriously, but they did not provide any detailed measures. Some of these workers went back to work, and some of them continued the strike. On the second day, the factory announced that anyone who is absent from work will be fired immediately. Most of the workers went back to work. Some of the workers left the factory.
(Fourthly, when we released our initial report on October 5th, I contacted 3 workers in factory to verify the information we received and we published all the information we confirmed by that time. But we have an investigator in that area, and he talked with many workers.)
About what happened on October 5th in Foxconn ZhengZhou, please see these two reports from Hongkong MingBao and CCStock. They have their own information source from workers in the factory. And what they found from their information source is consistent with our report.