Thousands of workers at the Taiwan-based Hon Hai Precision Industry Co.’s plant in Zhengzhou, China are engaged in a tense standoff with police amid street protests over withheld severance pay, according to videos seen by CNA Wednesday.
In some of the videos, purportedly posted on social media by workers at the Zhengzhou compound run by Hon Hai, globally known as Foxconn, “disparities in expected salary payments and actual payments received” and “new employees being put in the same rooms with COVID-19-positive ones” were attributed as sources of discontent.
Users on the Sina Weibo microblog also reported that the protests were over contractual terms.
As of Wednesday night, social media livestreams showed a growing crowd of protesters thought to be in the thousands reportedly gathered at Hon Hai’s factory compound in Zhengzhou demanding severance pay.
According to Chinese media reports, Hon Hai is currently in negotiations with the protesters over the issue amid fears the already tense situation could turn violent.
Reuters on Wednesday reported that hundreds of employees had walked out from Hon Hai’s Zhengzhou factory compound in protest at lax health protocols and a plan to delay bonus payments.
Protesters were confronted by baton-wielding police donning protective clothing, Reuters reported, citing videos on social media.
The Apple Inc. contract manufacturer began implementing closed-loop management in October to counter COVID-19 infections.
Earlier in November, Chinese media reported that Hon Hai was hiring temporary employees on a monthly salary payment of 10,000 yuan (US$1,396) due to a man power shortage amid rumors COVID-19 restrictions had led to workers fleeing.
On Wednesday, Hon Hai denied the allegations that it had withheld wages and put new employees in the same rooms as those hired earlier.
In a statement, the company said it had always adhered to its contracts with employees when paying salaries, and would continue to address any lingering questions about wages raised by workers since Tuesday.
Hon Hai further said that all of the dormitories at its production sites were thoroughly disinfected and checked by local authorities before new employees moved in, adding that it had not asked new hires to share rooms with employees that joined the workforce before them.
Hon Hai said its operations in Zhengzhou were normal, with production capacity unaffected.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel