While the corona measures are gradually being relaxed or abolished around the world, China – the country from which Covid-19 spread globally – is pursuing a zero-tolerance policy towards the spread of the virus, also known as “Zero Covid”. According to Reuters, over 250 new infections with Covid-19 have been reported in Zhengzhou, the capital of the central province of Henan, in the past 14 days. There is also China’s largest plant of the Taiwanese Apple supplier Foxconn, which employs 200,000 workers.
Foxconn workers flee poor working conditions
According to unconfirmed information, the factory has been cordoned off and barricaded since October 7th. So the workers have to stay there in the factory and continue to produce in a “closed cycle” despite the lockdown. On October 19, Foxconn in Zhengzhou banned eating meals in its canteens, so employees had to take them to their dormitories. As a result, people who work at the site are said to have let their frustration run free via social networks and chalked up the unworthy working conditions.
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Last weekend there was said to be a mass exodus of workers from the Foxconn plant, as Reuters reports and pictures that are doing the rounds on the Internet are supposed to prove. You can see people, some with luggage, walking across fields during the day and along streets at night. Climbing actions over fences can also be seen in a video. BBC’s correspondent in China, Stephen McDonell, circulated via Twitter several videos intended to document the escape of the workers. One of his comments says:
“Workers have broken out of Apple’s largest assembly plant and broken the zero-Covid lockdown at Foxconn in Zhengzhou. After sneaking out, they go to their hometowns more than 100 kilometers away to break the Covid app measures , designed to control people and prevent it.”
As a result of the lockdown and the resulting refugee movements, production of Apple’s iPhones could fall by 30 percent next month at the affected Foxconn plant in Zhengzhou, which is one of the largest in the world, a person with insider knowledge, appealing to Reuters, fears. Foxconn is now working to boost production at a smaller plant in Shenzhen to make up for the shortfall. The contract manufacturer is Apple’s largest iPhone maker and accounts for 70 percent of iPhone shipments worldwide, which in turn accounts for 45 percent of the Taiwanese company’s sales, Taipei-based Fubon Research analysts said this month.