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High Demands Causing iPhone 5 Workers To Strike

Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Group are denying reports from a labor rights group that claims workers on the iPhone 5 production factory in a Zhengzhou factory went on strike last week due to overly high-quality control demands for the new smartphone.

Foxconn said production on the iPhone 5 is “on schedule,” and denied the report from China Labor Watch last week that claimed “multiple iPhone 5 production lines from various factory buildings were in a state of paralysis after strikes by workers.”

The report claims that approximately 3,000-4,000 workers at the factory went on strike last Monday, prompting a “widespread work stoppage on the factory floor,” the New York-based labor rights organization said in a statement.

Most of these workers are said to have worked in the onsite quality control department. China Labor Watch said Foxconn (and Apple) had imposed “strict quality demands” on workers regarding indentation standards and would not allow the frame or back cover of the smartphone to be scratched.

The factory also did not allow the workers to take a vacation day on Monday, which was China’s National Day.  Foxconn countered the claims, saying those who worked the holiday shift were volunteers paid triple the usual salary.

Other reports say physical fights have broken out on the factory floor over the quality control issue, resulting in some workers having to be hospitalized.  Foxconn did allow that some altercations had broken out recently before the alleged strike happened.

China’s Xinhua news agency recently reported close to 100 OQC inspectors refused to work for several hours on Friday after one was allegedly beaten by workers upset over the inspection demands.

The main issue with the phone is that the back and side panel on the new phone seem to be extremely prone to scratching.  Executives at Apple responded that the scratches should be expected and were “normal” when met with early customer criticism.  It is rumored that these same panels will be used on the new iPad Mini.

Labor rights issues have been a recurring issue at Foxconn in the past year, with various groups accusing the firm of worker abuses.