updated 10:45 am EST, Fri November 19, 2010
Company allegedly threatening to fire workers
Some Foxconn workers in Foshan, China are protesting their treatment at the hands of management, says Reuters. Thousands of people are said to have gathered outside the Foshan factory this week, complaining about two major issues: low pay, as well as plans to relocate people to factories further inland, where companies tend to pay less for both labor and real estate. One worker complains that the Foshan factory pays a basic wage of just 1,100 yuan (roughly $166) a month, less than promised under recent pay hike plans. Take-home pay after overtime and social security payments tends to come out closer to 2,000 yuan ($300).
A spokesman for Hon Hai -- part of the Foxconn Technology Group -- has denied the existence of any organized protest movement, and will only admit that some workers have come together to ask for better pay. The person refused to comment on how many workers might be involved in the latter action.
By contrast, the workers themselves are reportedly dwelling in a climate of fear. Many are nervous and unwilling to comment publicly, while others say that Foxconn management has threatened to fire any strikers. Active labor movements are a relatively new phenomenon in China, and still treated harshly in some cases.
Foxconn is a major manufacturer serving a number of Western corporations, such as Apple, for which it builds products like iPhones and iPads. Most of this work is done not in Foshan but at a Shenzhen campus, which employs over 200,000 people. The Foshan plant, by contrast, staffs just 20,000 or so workers.