Chinese workers strike at Foxconn factory after HP cuts orders

Foxconn had allegedly been reducing workers' overtime, to encourage employees to quit, according to a labor group

About 1,000 workers at a factory of manufacturing giant Foxconn Technology Group went on strike on Wednesday demanding better wages, after production orders from Hewlett-Packard were cut, according to a labor protection group.

Foxconn had allegedly been reducing workers' overtime at the factory, located in Chongqing, China, as a tactic to encourage employees to voluntarily quit and forfeit their severance pay, said New York-based China Labor Watch in an online posting.

Many workers had relied on the overtime pay for the bulk of their earnings, the labor protection group said. "Workers demonstrated with holding banners, including one that read, 'We aren't robots. We need to eat and feed our family,'" the group added.

On Thursday, Foxconn said the demonstration was peaceful, and that the employees returned to work for four hours, after holding discussions and making agreements with company management.

20 workers continued to protest on Thursday, but the company is working with the employees to resolve the matter. "Production at our Chongqing campus was not affected by this action," Foxconn said in an email.

Foxconn, a contract electronics manufacturer, employs over a million workers in China, and includes Apple and HP among its clients. In 2012, Foxconn established a new printer manufacturing facility in Chongqing to build products for HP.

HP didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

Earlier this week the U.S. company said it will split into two companies, with one comprising its enterprise business, the other focused on PCs and printers. Analysts have said the shift means some customers could end up drifting away from HP hardware and move toward rival products.

When U.S. companies have announced major business shake ups, employees at their China operations have sometimes protested the changes. Earlier this year, workers at an IBM server factory in Shenzhen, China, demonstrated, after IBM announced it was selling its x86 server business to Lenovo.

Workers at the factory feared they would lose their jobs, or receive lower wages. Some employees decided to return on Lenovo's promise to protect their wages, but hundreds of others decided to quit.

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Tags environmentHewlett-PackardFoxconn Technology GroupElectronics manufacturing

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Michael Kan

IDG News Service
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