One Thousand Foxconn Workers Riot At Chinese Dormitory
A dispute of unclear origin sparked a riot at a Chinese Foxconn plant, in which as many as 1,000 workers participated. For two hours, the workers threw bottles at security and destroyed property in the plant’s dormitory area before ultimately being subdued with the help of local law enforcement.
The true cause of the riot is disputed, and varies by source. Foxconn asserts in a statement to CNN that the disturbance started when workers had a “disagreement” with a restuarant owner in Chengdu, where the plant is located. When the workers returned to the dormitory, more workers somehow became involved in the dispute, and things escalated until law enforcement was called to straighten out the issue.
According to Want China Times, however, the fight broke out when workers allegedly hindered Foxconn security guards who were attempting to investigate an alleged theft. In this case, it was initially a conflict between workers and security that broke out into a full-scale riot, not a conflict between workers and some third party. Admittedly this version makes a little more sense, considering how odd it seems for unrest between workers and a restaurant owner (presumably in or around said restaurant) to just migrate into the dormitories.
Foxconn, which assembles electronic hardware like Apple’s iPhone and iPad, has been under scrutiny for their labor practices for some time. Most recently This American Life aired a portion of Mike Daisy’s one man show which deals in part with Foxconn working conditions. While some of Daisy’s information turned out to be fabricated, Foxconn still found itself the focus of much attention.
Despite having raised its workers pay by 25%, this riot suggests that conditions at Foxconn facilities may still be tense, and even dangerous.