Apple supplier Foxconn apologizes after unrest on Chinese campus | Business and economy

The Taiwanese tech giant says “technical error” is to blame for the pay dispute that saw workers clash with police.

Apple supplier Foxconn has apologized to workers after its massive iPhone manufacturing complex in central China was rocked by violent protests over wages and working conditions.

The Taiwanese tech giant said on Thursday it had discovered a “technical flaw” in its payment system and agreed wages had not been changed after workers protested at its campus in Zhengzhou city.

“At this time, the park continues to actively communicate with the employees affected by the misinformation, explaining that all employees’ salaries and bonuses will be paid in accordance with company policies,” the company said in a statement.

Videos posted online on Wednesday showed people tearing down barriers, smashing surveillance cameras and windows and clashing with police, leaving a number of workers bloodied in the clashes.

Some workers in the footage said they were told Foxconn planned to delay bonus payments, while others complained they were forced to share dormitories with colleagues who tested positive for COVID-19.

Foxconn’s apology came as authorities in Zhengzhou ordered an effective lockdown for more than half of the city’s 10.3 million residents and as COVID-19 cases surged to a record high across the country.

As of Friday midnight, residents of the inner city will not be allowed to leave their neighborhood without a negative COVID test result and permission from the authorities. Residents are also advised to stay at home ‘unless necessary’.

China’s nationwide count rose to a record 31,454 infections on Thursday as authorities battle a resurgence of COVID in metropolises such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Chongqing.

Despite Beijing’s calls for more targeted measures to contain infections, authorities across the country have been scrambling to reintroduce restrictions such as lockdowns and mass testing to halt the spread of the virus.

The tightening of restrictions has dampened hopes of a departure from Beijing’s tough “zero-COVID” strategy, which seeks to eradicate the virus wherever it emerges, and portends more gloom over China’s sputtering economic recovery.

The world’s second-largest economy is expected to struggle to reach 3 percent growth in 2022, which would be one of its weakest performances in decades. Gross domestic product (GDP) officially grew by 3.9 percent between July and September, after growing just 0.4 percent in the previous quarter.

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