Apple supplier Foxconn quadruples bonuses to staff hit by China COVID lockdown


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Nov 1 (Reuters) – Apple (AAPL.O) supplier Foxconn (2317.TW) said on Tuesday it has quadrupled bonuses on offer for workers at its Zhengzhou plant in central China as it seeks to quell discontent over COVID curbs and retain staff at the giant iPhone manufacturing site.

Daily bonuses for employees, who are part of a Foxconn unit responsible for making electronics including smartphones at the site, have been raised to 400 yuan ($55) a day for November from 100 yuan, according to the official WeChat account of Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant.

Foxconn, formally Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, is Apple’s biggest iPhone maker, producing 70% of iPhone shipments globally. It makes most of the phones at the Zhengzhou plant where it employs about 200,000 people, though it has other smaller production sites in India and south China.

The Zhengzhou plant has been rocked by discontent over stringent measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, with several workers fleeing the site over the weekend after complaining about their treatment and provisions via social media.

Foxconn had no choice but to follow government instructions which had put workers in “miserable conditions”, a person familiar with the situation on campus told Reuters, adding that the circumstances caught management by surprise.

“Initially there wasn’t enough to eat or drink,” said the source, who declined to be identified as they were not authorised to speak to the media. Essential supplies had since been shipped into the Foxconn campus after the shortage triggered “a sense of anxiety”, the source added.

The plant had faced capacity constraints in isolating those infected, a Foxconn manager who oversees more than 1,000 workers told a unit of financial news outlet Yicai.

Panic also spread among workers due to rumours on social media and perceptions they were at risk of severe illness should they catch the virus, said the unnamed manager.

The original bonus scheme was initially outlined in an article on Monday by government-backed Henan Daily, citing a senior unnamed Foxconn executive.

Foxconn has not disclosed whether any workers at the Zhengzhou site had been diagnosed with COVID-19 but the executive told the newspaper there had been no…