Hundreds of Foxconn employees living in company dormitories in Chengdu, China clashed with security staff Monday evening.
The world’s largest electronic contract manufacturer called in the police to calm down the crowd and dozens of those who took part in the disturbance were arrested, according to Molihua, a news website advocating democracy and human rights in China.
The clash broke out at a male dormitory for Foxconn workers in Kaoxinxi district in northwest Chengdu. When two security guards called out to stop a thief, some employees with grudges against the security officers took the chance to hinder them and forced them away.
The situation quickly escalated out of control with up to one thousand workers joining the fray, throwing trash bins, chairs, pots, bottles and fireworks from the upper floors of the bulding to the ground and destroying public facilities.
Foxconn’s Chengdu plant made international headlines last year after an explosion at the factory killed two workers and injured 16 others.
With a labor force of 1.2 million people, Foxconn is China’s largest private employer and biggest exporter. It manufactures familiar products for the U.S. market. Through contracts with Apple, Motorola, Nokia, Hewlett Packard, Dell and Sony, it makes the computers, phones, laptops and printers that we use every day—including the iPhones and iPads that many people will use to read this very article.
In Foxconn’s highest-paying factories, located in China’s coastal cities, workers earn just $1.18 an hour, and that only after a recent 30 percent increase in wages. But the manufacturer’s loudest critics point out that blame for horrific labor conditions isn’t Foxconn’s alone. As long as multinational corporations that market popular brands to Western consumers demand fast, high-quality work at rock-bottom prices, consumer electronics will be made in sweatshops.
According to the Want China Times, Foxconn’s Chengdu plant mainly produces liquid crystal displays for electronic products such as Apple’s iPhone.