A brawl last night at an Apple Factory in China has forced Foxconn Technology to temporarily halt production of the new iPhone.
The NY Times reports that the Foxconn plant in Taiyuan, China, is one of several factories that makes products for the Apple iPhone 5. Foxconn did not say if the Taiyuan factory was involved in creating parts for the iPhone 5 but an employee said that some components were constructed at the Taiyuan factory. Most of the iPhone 5, however, is constructed at other plants around China. Foxconn is also a key supplier to Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft.
The riot last night involved as many as 2000 workers. It’s unclear how long the factory, which employs about 79,000 people, will be shutdown.
Foxconn spokesman Louis Woo said that the plant was closed due to the ongoing police investigation into the cause of the riot. Woo estimates that the factory will be closed for two or three days.
“The plant is closed today for investigation.”
According to Foxconn, the brawl started because of a personal spat between a few employees. Foxconn said in a statement:
“The cause of this dispute is under investigation by local authorities and we are working closely with them in this process, but it appears not to have been work-related.”
Some speculate that the riot may have been related to poor work conditions at the factory. Foxconn has frequently been in the news for its work practices.
Geoff Crothall, the communication director of a labor rights group in Hong Kong, told Reuters:
“Clearly there is deep-seated frustration and anger among the employees and no outlet, apart from violence, for that frustration to be released. There is no dialogue and no means of resolving disputes, no matter how minor. So it is not surprising when such disputes escalate into violence.”