Foxconn Closes Factory After Riot

foxconn Apple iPhone factory China

Foxconn stops production at a factory in China, after a fight broke out among 2,000 workers

Foxconn Technology Group, which makes Apple iPhone and iPad devices, along with goods for other manufacturers, has  suspended production at a factory in northern China after a fight involving around 2,000 workers broke out on Sunday night.

The fight began at about 11pm on Sunday night (1500 GMT) at a privately run dormitory near Foxconn’s plant in Taiyuan in Shanxi province, according to the company. The matter appeared to involve a “personal dispute”, between rival worker groups and was not directly related to working conditions, the company said.

Chaotic fights reported

What started as a small-scale incident escalated out of control, “drawing a large crowd of spectators and triggering chaos”, according to a police spokesman quoted by Chinese state news agency Xinhua.

About 5,000 police were dispatched to the scene and brought the situation under control at about 3am local time, according to the company. Some 40 workers were taken into hospital. Foxconn said local authorities are conducting an investigation into the incident. Some workers have been arrested, according to Foxconn.

Foxconn said union representatives would be sent to the factory on Monday to discuss the situation.

Photos posted on microblog service Sina Weibo and later deleted reportedly showed broken windows, a burned vehicle and police in riot gear.

Important manufacturer for Apple, Microsoft, HP

The Taiyuan plant employs about 79,000 workers, making electronic components for cars and consumer devices. Foxconn declined to say whether it is involved in the production of Apple’s iPhone 5.

Foxconn is an important manufacturer for Apple, HP and Microsoft, among others. The company employs around 1.2 million workers, with facilities in Taijuan in the north, Shenzhen in the south, Chengdu in the west and Zhengzhou in central China, and also operates in Brazil, Mexico and Vietnam. Foxconn is itself a unit of Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co.

In June a fight broke out in a restaurant at a Foxconn plant in Chengdu involving about 100 workers. Worker suicides last year drew attention to poor working conditions at Foxconn’s factories, with Apple confirming earlier this year that explosions at Foxconn plants (pictured) were caused by aluminium dust from the milling and polishing of iMacs and iPads.

Foxconn has since promised to reduce hours and improve pay and staff representation.

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