iPhone slave factory forced to close

Ian Calcutt |

Reports from China say that Apple supplier Foxconn has been forced to close its Taiyuan plant temporarily after a brawl involving as many as 2,000 workers.

The factory in Northern China employs about 79,000 people. Among Foxconn’s most high-profile clients is Apple, and it is believed that this plant is making parts for the iPhone 5. The company also supplies components for Microsoft, HP and the automotive industry.

According to The Guardian, the fight happened on Sunday night, leaving around 40 people needing hospital treatment. A police statement reported by China’s official Xinhua news agency said 5,000 officers were sent to the scene. It then took about four hours to bring the situation under control and several people were detained by the authorities.

One employee was reportedly told that the plant could be closed for up to two or three days while police investigate.

Statements say that the violence was not apparently work related, however, the Taiwanese-owned Foxconn has come under increasing scrutiny over its working conditions. There have been incidents of violence at some of its other facilities in China, such as Chengdu in June.

The Guardian adds that in recent months Foxconn has been attempting to improve its employee relations by raising wages and addressing concerns over working conditions.

Posts on Chinese internet bulletin boards suggest the problem may have started after a security guard hit an employee in the workers’ dormitory facilities.

Via The Guardian