Foxconn, temporary halt to a massive hiring surge


Foxconn was forced to temporarily halt a massive surge in hiring due to quarantine rules still in place to counter the COVID-19 pandemic. The assembler needs something like 100,000 new workers to return to full production capacity, but the law in China is that every new employee must undergo four days of isolation before coming into contact with colleagues to prevent further outbreaks from spreading ; the problem is that, quite simply, Foxconn no longer has space dedicated to this procedure, and has to wait for it to get rid of it. Specifically, he will have to interrupt the hiring process for at least three days.

The most ironic aspect of the whole affair is that the cause of this extreme staff shortage is always the pandemic: an outbreak of COVID-19 had begun to spread in the area where one of Foxconn’s main plants is located, and had started hitting the factory itself too. The cases were limited, but they were enough to cause a mass exodus among employees, fearful both of the risk of infection and of confinement and preventive quarantine – as we know, China continues to have a “zero tolerance” policy against the virus and is always very inclined to order extended lockdowns even if there are few cases.

The emergency situation has exacerbated what is a climate of discontent quite widespread among the employees of factories in this sector – living in rather miserable conditions, basically. Stories are told that some of the quarantined workers were confined to dormitories and were not allowed to leave the plant, and that they had to walk up to half an hour to reach a water source or smoking area.

According to what the South China Morning Post, citing two Foxconn recruiters, hiring is expected to resume tomorrow. The company is primarily responsible for the worldwide production of Apple’s iPhone – and countless other consumer electronics products, of course, but the Apple phone is among the most popular and well-known. It is estimated that the exodus of workers at the end of October had a impact on global iPhone 14 production capacity by as much as 10%. The single factory discussed in this article employs 300,000 people when it is at full capacity – roughly the number of inhabitants of the cities of Bari or Catania – and has an area roughly comparable to one and a half times Central Park in New York.

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