For those who go further, and agree to forgo their leave this month, the bonus could amount to a 1,000% increase – from 1,500 yuan ($200) to 15,000 yuan ($2000) …
Foxconn is Apple’s primary iPhone assembler, and its Zhengzhou campus is the company’s largest plant. Foxconn’s iPhone production facility has around 300,000 workers, with a great many other Apple suppliers based in the city. This has earned Zhengzhou the nickname iPhone City.
China still maintains a zero-COVID-19 policy, attempting to completely eliminate the virus from the country by imposing citywide lockdowns in response to even a handful of positive tests.
In an attempt to pursue this policy without destroying the economy, China allows what is known as closed-loop production, where staff work, eat, and sleep on the campus during lockdowns. These conditions were already tough, but a COVID-19 outbreak within the plant itself has created even tighter restrictions.
Additionally, there have been reports of inadequate isolation of infected workers, and shortages of both food and medical supplies.
Clearly a worsening situation
Foxconn initially tried to play down the impact on iPhone 14 production, admitting that a COVID outbreak had occurred, but claiming that the situation was ‘controllable’ and that production volumes were ‘relatively stable.’
However, it was yesterday reported that infection numbers were continuing to rise. A mix of extreme working conditions and fear of infection led to significant numbers of workers refusing to carry out their shifts, with some of them leaving the plant. Videos on social media showed workers climbing fences and hitching rides home on the backs of trucks.
iPhone worker bonuses increased by up to 1,000%
Foxconn first responded by offering bonuses of up to 1,500 yuan ($200) for anyone who works all of their shifts, equivalent to around 20% of their base salary. Reuters reports that the severity of the situation has now prompted Foxconn to triple these bonuses.
Foxconn’s notice on Tuesday also said those who work for more than 25 days could get a maximum bonus of 5,000 yuan for the month, up from previous maximum of 1,500 yuan, as part of an effort to “gradually resume orderly production” and to “thank our fellow employees’ persistence.”
Even more dramatically, the maximum bonus available to the most dedicated workers has been increased ten-fold.
Those who put in their “full effort” during November, including forgoing any leave, could be paid a total bonus of over 15,000 yuan for the month, the notice added.
Even with these sums on offer, iPhone worker responses have been mixed, some agreeing to stay and others still considering it too risky.
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