Foxconn Plant Closed After Riot
About 2,000 Chinese employees of an iPhone assembly company fought a pitched battle into the early hours of Monday, forcing the huge electronics plant where they work to be shut down. Authorities in the northern city of Taiyuan sent 5,000 police to restore order after what the plant’s Taiwanese owners Foxconn Technology Group said was a personal dispute in a dormitory that erupted into a mass brawl.
The company said the incident was confined to an employee dormitory and “no production facilities or equipment have been affected.” It said the cause of the disturbance was still under investigation.
One Foxconn employee reached by telephone Monday afternoon, however, said the incident began when workers started brawling with security guards. Unconfirmed photographs and video circulated on social networking sites, purporting to be from the factory, showed smashed windows, riot police officers and large groups of workers milling around. The Foxconn plant, in the Chinese city of Taiyuan, employs about 79,000 workers.
The Chinese state-run news media said 5,000 police officers had been called in to quell the riot. The disturbance is the latest problem to hit Foxconn, which also is a key supplier to Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft. It is part of Hon Hai Group of Taiwan and has been struggling to improve labor conditions at its China factories after reports about labor abuse and work safety violations.
Apple and Foxconn have worked together in the last year to improve conditions, raise pay and improve labor standards.