After reports of more than a thousand workers going on strike at a Beijing factory surfaced earlier this week, Foxconn has denied that the alleged incident took place and dismissed them as “without foundation and completely inaccurate”.
Foxconn did confirm that it had hosted a town hall meeting with many of its employees to discuss “matters relating to salary and bonuses”, but it said there was no disruption to its operations.
Still, it’s not clear what led a Foxconn manager to reportedly tell Radio Free Asia that a strike had occurred. One worker claimed on the Sina Weibo microblog that the company had called in police during the discussions.
Tensions are likely to be high during this time of year, though, as most workers are anxious to head home during the Chinese New Year holiday, leaving manufacturers with a shortage of staff as they try to keep up with customer orders.
The kind of lack of clarity about a worker incident in China is not unusual. Earlier this month, a non-profit group claimed that another 1,000-worker strike occurred at a facility in China, but Foxconn fired back that the issue had taken place at one of its supplier’s factories.
While manufacturers like Foxconn certainly have plenty of room for improvement in their conditions, relying on social media and individual sources offers just one side of the story. Last September, a worker incident involving 2,000 employees occurred, but reports were conflicted about whether it was between workers and security guards or a clash between worker groups. It’s even possible that both are correct. In October 2012, the company acknowledged having found underage interns working at its facilities.
As China’s most high-profile contract manufacturer, Foxconn has come under greater scrutiny, especially as media outlets have looked into Apple’s supply chain. For its part, Foxconn remains outspoken in its commitment to ensuring the welfare of its employees.
Foxconn Technology Group’s complete statement:
We can confirm that a recent online report alleging a workplace disruption at our facility in Beijing is without foundation and completely inaccurate. The management team at that campus, together with representatives of the Human Resources department and the Foxconn Labor Union, hosted a town hall meeting on January 22 attended by many of our employees. That meeting, which lasted two hours, was arranged to address employees’ questions on matters relating to salary and bonuses, among other topics. Contrary to the online report, there was no disruption in our operations in that facility.
The welfare of our employees is our top priority and this meeting was part of a regular process that our management carries out to engage with employees, to update them on our company’s developments and to better understand the needs of our employees.
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