Briefing: Chinese workers at Foxconn protest over unpaid bonuses

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Chinese workers at Apple supplier Foxconn stage street protest over unpaid bonuses – SCMP

What happened: Hundreds of Foxconn workers joined a rally in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province, last week (Dec. 12-13) over alleged unpaid bonuses. Workers at the rally claimed they were promised an additional RMB 6,000 (around $870) in cash if they worked 55 days, but local employment agencies reneged on the deal. Some protesters were reportedly detained and beaten by police. Apple supplier Foxconn did not confirm the reports but has said it will look into the matter.

Why it’s important: Temporary contract workers in China are usually low-paid and overworked. The workers are in high demand, especially during holiday seasons, as companies try to cut costs. Chinese regulators have tightened rules regarding the use of labor and working conditions in recent years, but temporary workers’ rights are still often abused. In June, the Taiwanese Apple supplier was criticized for harsh working conditions at its Chinese factory. In October, Quanta Computer, Apple’s manufacturing partner, was also accused by workers’ rights group for illegally employing and overworking student interns at its Chongqing plant. Earlier this week, Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court ordered a ban on some iPhone models in a patent dispute between Apple and chipmaker Qualcomm, leading to the speculation that Foxconn might soon lay off workers in China.