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Workers leave a sprawling Foxconn iPhone factory in central China due to working conditions and Covid restrictions, relieved to take home earnings after angry protests at the Taiwanese technology giant’s factory technology.

Workers walk out of Zhengzhou factory following bloody clashes with police in which more than a dozen protesters were injured, furious at Foxconn’s failure to pay promised bonuses, employees said . AFP.

The company could now see more than 30% of the site’s November production affected, compared to an internal estimate of up to 30% when problems for workers at the plant began in late October, according to Reuters.

The site, which is the only factory where Foxconn manufactures high-end iPhone models, including the iPhone 14 Pro, is not expected to resume full production by the end of this month, the source added.

Foxconn is desperate to keep up the pace of operations at the factory, the world’s biggest maker of iPhones, after a handful of Covid cases forced it to lock down the facility.

Apple’s largest iPhone factory in the world is grappling with tough COVID-19 restrictions that have fueled worker discontent and disrupted production ahead of January’s Christmas and Lunar New Year holidays, as many workers were isolated or fled the plant.

Now the company is offering payments to those who leave, with employees taking to social media on Thursday to show they had received bonuses of 10,000 yuan ($1,400) in exchange for terminating their contracts.

Several coaches are parked outside dormitories in the background of several videos, believed to be there to bring staff home.

“Everyone has their money and is about to leave,” the worker said.

“I’m quite satisfied, workers who still want this or that shouldn’t be too greedy,” she said.

Foxconn also appears keen to appease those who have been beaten by police, with another worker telling AFP his injured colleagues received an additional 500 yuan on top of their severance pay.

On Wednesday, workers, most of whom were new recruits hired in recent weeks, clashed with security personnel.

Many claimed they were misled about factory allowances, and others complained about sharing dormitories with colleagues who had tested positive for COVID.

Foxconn apologized for a payroll-related “technical error” during hiring on Thursday, and later offered 10,000 yuan ($1,400) to protesting new hires who agreed to quit and leave.

The source said more than 20,000 workers, mostly new recruits who were not yet working on the production lines, took the money and left. Videos posted Friday on Chinese social media showed crowds and long lines of luggage-laden workers queuing for buses.

“It’s time to go home,” one person said.

With contributions from agencies

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Over 20,000 new hires left Apple supplier Foxconn’s factory in China

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