Yesterday, the glamor of the iPhone 5 was briefly overshadowed by the harrowing reports of a mass riot at a Foxconn factory in Taiyuan, northern China. On Sunday night, what was reported to have been a dormitory dispute quickly escalated into a full scale brawl, involving some 2000 of the plants 79,000 employees. Despite the official report, messages online coming from other employees suggested that the riots had in fact been triggered by the violent treatment of workers by the guards. Considering the stories that have emerged from Foxconn over the last year, I’m sure many will, sadly, find themselves inclined to believe that latter.
Following the riot, the plant was closed for investigation. Many speculated that the report could put the factory out of action for up to 3 days. There were also reports that the iPhone 5 production line had been damaged, leaving some concerned that iPhone 5 shipping times could be affected as a result.
However in the last few minutes CNET has reported that the plant will restart operations tomorrow as-per-usual. Thankfully, none of the employees lost their lives, however there were 40 injuries that required hospital treatment, and an undisclosed number of arrests. The cause of the riot is under investigation by local authorities, however, Foxconn repeatedly iterated that the matter was a “personal dispute”, and that it was not related to work in anyway.
Is this incident anomalous? Or does it highlight the deeper problems lurking within these factories? What more can be done to address that situation? Leave your comments below!