Some 3,000 to 4,000 production workers at Foxconn‘s Zhengzhou factory went on strike Friday afternoon, according to an alert sent out Friday by China Labor Watch, a not-for-profit, U.S.-based watchdog for Chinese workers’ rights.
Production was halted as workers — primarily quality control inspectors — protested against a series of escalating demands. According to the group, Apple and Foxconn “raised strict quality demands on workers, including indentations standards of 0.02mm and demands related to scratches on frames and back covers” on iPhone 5 devices. When workers failed to meet the new standards, friction between quality control inspectors and workers came to a head, in some cases escalating to physical violence. Several workers were hospitalized, CLW said.
Tensions were already high after employees were forced to work through a national holiday on Oct. 1.
According to CLW, several iPhone 5 production lines ceased production for the entire day. It’s unclear how this will affect sales of iPhone 5 devices, which are already on backorder at Apple.
Riots at Foxconn factories, which are notorious for poor, high-pressure working conditions, are not infrequent. Last month, Foxconn was forced shut down its Taiyuan plant after a brawl broke out among 2,000 workers, 40 of which were injured.
Apple has often come under attack for not ensuring better work conditions at its supplier factories. The company issued an update to its Labor and Human Rights page just last week, claiming that its suppliers had achieved near-100% compliance with its demand for shorter working hours and better monitoring. The latest riots certainly put those claims into question.
Apple’s stock price was down about 2% in afternoon trading on Friday.
Image courtesy of Apple.