To ramp up iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max production, Foxconn is making sick staff stay on the assembly line at the biggest iPhone factory in Zhengzhou, China. Publisher, Rest of the world claims that the Taiwanese manufacturer is pressured to use ill workers to catch up on the delayed iPhone 14 Pro production after the end of COVID-19 restrictions in the country.
When China imposed zero-COVID-19 lockdowns nationwide, the production capacity at Foxconn facilities was reduced and the operations continued under a closed-loop production system in which the staff members lived at the plant to prevent the spread of the virus.
However, Foxconn had a COVID-19 breakout at its iPhone City in Zhengzhou and alleged videos of workers escaping from the plant surfaced online. A few days later, the new recruits and old employees at the facility rioted for not being paid their promised bonuses and unhygienic living conditions, respectively.
The riots made a bad situation worse for Foxconn by causing a 20% further reduction in iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max production which cut their shipment volume up to 20 million in Q4, 2022.
Sick iPhone workers wear N95 masks at the Foxconn plant in Zhengzhou
According to the report, workers are made to work in spite of having symptoms and are advised not to get tested by their supervisors because Foxconn bans positive workers from production lines and dormitories.
One Foxconn employee in his 30s, who requested anonymity to discuss work conditions freely, told Rest of World last week that several colleagues had been working despite having a fever. Although they felt sick, the worker spent 11 hours inserting screws into iPhones on Saturday. “I had trouble breathing by 7 p.m.,” he said in a text after work. “Was barely able to finish the shift.” He worked 10 hours the next day.
Although staff at assembly lines are given N95 masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, workers complain that the virus can spread in dorm rooms, easily.
Employees on production lines are provided with N95 masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19. But workers say that it’s still easy to catch the disease inside dorm rooms, where eight people sleep together in close proximity. Seven workers confirmed to Rest of World that they, along with many of their roommates, contracted the virus after joining the factory this month. Three said they were asked to stay on the job despite showing symptoms.