Labor unrest is growing at the Shanghai factory of a major supplier for Apple gadgets, with protests turning violent at times in response to the “COVID zero” lockdown.
Employees at the Quanta Computer Plant – which makes Apple’s MacBook laptops – have been in strict lockdown for nearly two months with limited supplies as the Chinese government takes drastic measures to keep production online despite a recent COVID-19 case surge. Is.
But fed up employees – most of whom are low-paid – have reportedly begun to rebel against the measures. The unrest included violent confrontations with hundreds of workers and factory guards, as well as incidents in which workers crossed barriers in search of basic supplies.
Tensions soared last weekend that a group of workers stormed a housing facility to confront Quanta’s Taiwanese managers. The incident led to a long standoff as workers demanded better wages and an end to the lockdown.
Bloomberg reported growing unrest at the plant, citing conversations with people familiar with the matter. Quanta Computer Facility Manufacturer Apple MacBook Laptop.
“People are frustrated and tired of these controls,” a worker at the locked-down facility told Bloomberg. “It’s inevitable, especially when there’s no timeline for when it all ends.”
The Apple supplier’s factory is one of several facilities that have adopted a “closed loop” system in which employees work, eat and sleep in “bubbles” on site or nearby. Workers are barred from seeing other people including their family members.
According to Bloomberg, typical housing conditions for workers at the Shanghai plant include packing 12 workers into bunk beds per dorm room. One employee told the outlet that employees receive a salary of about 3,000 yuan per month, or $450.
Apple representatives did not immediately return a request for comment. Quanta Computer declined Bloomberg’s request for comment.
Earlier this month, viral footage showed an outbreak of rioting at the same factory, as factory workers bypassed security barriers and fought with guards wearing hazmat suits.
At the time, Taiwanese newspaper UDN reported that workers were suddenly banned from returning to their dorms during off-duty hours because of COVID-19 restrictions.
The renewed COVID-19 lockdown in China has put additional pressure on global supply chains that were already grappling with disruptions related to the pandemic.
Last month, Apple warned that supply shortages and the COVID-19 lockdown could lead to a loss of up to $8 billion in its quarterly revenue.