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iPhone Production Said to See 30 Percent Slump After Disruption at Foxconn Plant in China

iPhone production could slump by at least 30 percent at Foxconn’s factory in China’s city of Zhengzhou after worker unrest disrupted operations, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Friday. The estimate was an upward revision of an October internal forecast for production impact of up to 30 percent at the world’s largest iPhone factory, said the source, who sought anonymity as the information was private.

Following this week’s bout of worker unrest at the plant, the source added, it was “impossible” for the company to resume full production by the end of the month – a deadline it had set internally before Wednesday’s wave of protests.

Foxconn declined to comment.

Earlier on Friday, Reuters reported that more than 20,000 employees, most of them were new hires not yet working on the production line, have left Apple supplier Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant in China, citing a Foxconn source familiar with the matter. The person said the departures would complicate the company’s previous target of resuming full production by the end of November, following worker unrest that rocked production at the world’s largest iPhone factory.

Foxconn has apologised for committing a pay-related “technical error” when hiring new recruits, which workers say was a factor that led to protests involving clashes with security personnel.

The labour unrest at the Zhengzhou plant that began on Wednesday marked rare scenes of open dissent in China which workers say was fuelled claims of overdue pay and frustration over severe COVID-19 restrictions.

Meanwhile, a second Foxconn source familiar with the matter said some new hires had left the campus but did not elaborate on how many. The person said the departures had no impact on current production, as the new staff still needed to take training courses before working online.

Foxconn launched a hiring drive earlier this month promising bonuses and higher salaries after it had to enact measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in October. The curbs forced the company to isolate many employees and the plant’s conditions prompted several to flee.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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