Apple's major supplier Foxconn said on Thursday a "technical error" occurred when hiring new recruits at a COVID-hit iPhone factory in China and apologised to workers after the company was rocked by fresh labour unrest.
Men smashed surveillance cameras and windows as hundreds of workers protested at the plant in Zhengzhou city on Wednesday, in rare scenes of open dissent in China sparked by claims of overdue pay and frustration over severe COVID-19 restrictions.
Workers said on videos circulated on social media that they had been informed that Foxconn intended to delay bonus payments. Some workers also complained they were forced to share dormitories with colleagues who had tested positive for COVID.
"Our team has been looking into the matter and discovered a technical error occurred during the onboarding process," Foxconn said in a statement.
"We apologize for an input error in the computer system and guarantee that the actual pay is the same as agreed and the official recruitment posters."
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The largest protests had died down by Thursday and the company was communicating with employees engaged in smaller protests, a Foxconn source familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The Taiwanese company said it would try to solve concerns and meet worker demands, with "corresponding care subsidies" offered to those who want to return to their hometowns.
The Zhengzhou plant employs more than 200,000 people to make Apple Inc devices including the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max.