In late October, Foxconn employees fled the Zhengzhou factory by the hundreds, leaving the job behind by flooding the highway on foot with belongings in tow. Prolonged inability to dampen COVID infection flare-ups forced the campus — the workforce of which is in the hundreds of thousands, according to Global Voices — to enter a closed-loop system, where workers must live, work, and stay on campus. The Foxconn plant’s community plunged into isolation, and the company tried to retain remaining staff and recruit more with pay and bonus incentives — but rumors of delays to those bonuses could have been a factor in sparking the protests, Reuters reports.
Between the protests, the workforce exodus, and the interim of training new personnel, Foxconn is likely looking at an uphill battle to resume its full production capacity after the virus decimated its productivity. The original target was the end of November, but an unnamed source cited by Reuters stated that “it’s certain that [Foxconn] can’t resume normal production by month-end.”