Apple iPhone Supply Threatened by Foxconn Brawl

Dennis Faas's picture

China's Foxconn facility, which produces Apple devices like the iPhone, was recently shut down after 5,000 Chinese police were dispatched to break up a massive melee involving 2,000 factory workers.

About forty people were reportedly taken to hospital for treatment following the incident.

Foxconn may be the world's most controversial manufacturing plant. With 79,000 employees producing a wide range of popular electronic gadgets, it's an absolutely massive facility.

Workers Complain of Poor Pay, Long Hours

However, Foxconn has faced great change in recent months. First, employees caught media attention when complaining they were being over-worked and under-paid. That prompted a very public investigation by Western media, then a response from Apple.

The Cupertino, California-based firm is currently performing its own investigation of worker conditions.

According to reports, the recent brawl broke out after factory guards began picking fights with workers. Eventually an estimated 2,000 workers became involved in the altercation, which left windows smashed and railings destroyed.

Dozens of workers were sent to hospital nursing wounds. (Source:

The violent clash prompted Foxconn's facility management to contact local police. Law enforcement officials showed up brandishing batons, carrying riot shields, and wearing helmets.

Cause of Incident Remains Unclear

Right now it remains unclear precisely what caused the incident. Foxconn officials say they're investigating, and claim the issue is not work-related. (Source:

Some people, however, may find that claim hard to believe. After all, this is a plant that has been repeatedly accused of over-working its employees.

Certainly Chinese labor expert Geoff Crothall is not buying the company's statement.

"Clearly there is deep-seated frustration and anger among the employees and no outlet, apart from violence, for that frustration to be released," Crothall said.

"There is no dialogue and no means of resolving disputes, no matter how minor." (Source:

With the iPhone 5 now arriving at retail locations around the world, pressure on Foxconn workers to produce as many units as possible may be reaching critical levels.

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