Sun, Oct 07, 2012 - Page 1 News List

Foxconn denies plant in China crippled by strike

CHINA LABOR WATCH:The company denied that workers downed tools at a factory assembling Apple products, saying there had been only two brief disputes

Reuters, TAIPEI and SAN FRANCISCO

Foxconn (富士康), the Taiwanese made-to-order electronics giant that assembles Apple Inc’s products, denied reports that a plant in China was crippled by a strike, saying yesterday that its production is on schedule at an important time for Apple.

The report of a strike issued by China Labor Watch, a New York-based advocacy group, came weeks after Apple started its largest-ever global rollout for the new iPhone 5 smartphone. Apple is already struggling with tight availability of the phones in stores, analysts say.

The labor group said 3,000 to 4,000 workers striked at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou complex in central China on Friday afternoon, angered by over-exacting quality controls as well as demands they work through the week-long National Day holidays, which began on Monday.

However, Foxconn Technology Group (富士康科技集團), which has its headquarters in Taiwan, denied the report and said the plant suffered only two brief and small disputes several days earlier.

“Any reports that there has been an employee strike are inaccurate,” the company said in an e-mailed statement, adding that “there has been no workplace stoppage in that facility or any other Foxconn facility and production has continued on schedule.”

Tensions have boiled over repeatedly in factories operated by Foxconn, the Taiwanese contract manufacturing giant that employs more than a million and makes most of the world’s iPads and iPhones.

Last month, thousands rioted at its Taiyuan facility in northern China, disrupting production for about 24 hours and underscoring the potential for labor unrest.

China Labor Watch said the dispute at the Zhangzhou plant arose over strict demands on product quality, which workers said they could not meet without more training.

In its response, Foxconn said the quarrels happened between Oct. 1 and 2, and were “isolated incidents and were immediately addressed and measures taken, including providing additional staff for the lines in question.”

Foxconn also said that employees who worked over China’s National Day break did so voluntarily and were paid three times their usual hourly compensation, as demanded by law.

Foxconn Technology Group of Taiwan, the trading name of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), is the world’s largest contract maker of electronics for global brands such as Hewlett Packard Co, Nokia and Dell Inc.

Apple and Foxconn have come under fire for poor working conditions and wages at plants across China. In response, they have organized an audit of factory conditions, raised wages, improved safety and reduced overtime.

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