Rioting erupted at Foxconn’s Taiyuan plant as workers with plant personal in the wee hours in China. Police have stabilized the ruckus. While the motive isn’t clear, Sina Weibo user Li Tian reports that the riot isn’t related to the recent anti-Japan protests, though judging by photos, much damage has been done in the process. The same site suffered from a strike back in March over salary dispute — the front-line workers failed to receive the promised pay rise. On a similar note,Foxconn’s Chengdu plant also had a riot in June, but that was apparently due to an argument between some workers and a local restaurant owner.
Reports out of China indicate that a of large numbers of police were deplored in and around the factory – many in riot gear – blocking off throngs of people.
Other photos show debris strewn around the Foxconn compound and in one case, an overturned guard tower. According to popular tech blog engadget, the disturbance kicked off after Foxconn security guards allegedly hits a worker around 10 p.m. on Sunday.
Censors in China have reportedly already started deleting pictures from the scene.
The Taiyuan facility is reportedly responsible for the fabrication of the back plate of the immensely popular new iPhone 5. In March, strikes broke out there after workers did not receive a pay raise they had reportedly been promised.
Meanwhile, Foxconn’s Chengdu plant in Sichuan province also has dealt with riots. In June, scores of Foxconn workers there got into a fight with a local restaurant owner that had to be broken up by police.
Foxconn is the Taiwanese electronics manufacturer responsible for much of the current production and assembly of Apple’s popular line of products as well as a wide variety of popular tech toys ranging from laptops to gaming consoles.
But Foxconn has been under fire for years for its tough working conditions, including long hours, low wages and strict rules on representation. The company has also dealt with a string of suicides at its plants across China, which led to the company in 2010 installing anti-jump nets to prevent further suicide attempts.
The company has taken steps to improve working conditions in its factories by reducing work hours and raising wages for its front-line workers.
Still, perhaps wary of the continued negative publicity that has plagued one of its primary manufacturers over the years, Apple recently took steps to diversify its portfolio of producers, recently awarding much of the manufacturing of its new iteration of the iPad to another Taiwanese company, Pegatron.
An undercover report from August mentioned that the Taiyuan plant processed the back casing of the iPhone 5. It also highlighted the company’s harsh management as well as “practically compulsory” over-time work. We don’t doubt that this riot escalated due to dissatisfaction over working conditions.