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Foxconn factory at center of riot reopens, supply not affected

FoxconnThe Foxconn factory at the center of a serious disturbance late Sunday involving thousands of rioting workers has reopened.

Company spokesperson Louis Woo told Reuters Tuesday that despite staying shut all through Monday, no impact on product supply is expected. “We have 79,000 people working in Taiyuan campus, and we always have spare inventory,” Woo said.

The trouble, which reportedly involved more than 2,000 workers causing widespread damage throughout the factory campus, was brought to a halt by around 5,000 police. About 40 people were injured, with countless arrests made.

China’s state-run news agency said the brawl started after a fight broke out between two workers in a factory dormitory. However, workers allege the incident erupted after a security guard manhandled an employee at the factory gates.

Riot at Foxconn plant

Foxconn, the world’s biggest component maker, is a major manufacturer for Apple, as well as other giants in the electronics industry. The Taiwan-based company has so far refused to say whether this particular facility, located in the northern Chinese city of Taiyuan, is involved in the production of Apple’s new iPhone 5 handset.

In an on-screen interview with the UK’s Channel 4 News program, one former Foxconn worker explained that new devices can cause great stress among workers, saying, “When a factory launches a new product, workers do overtime for long periods to test the production line until they are ready, which really puts pressure on the employees.”

He added, “A new generation of workers has higher demands. They know their rights and they’re more rebellious.”

Foxconn, which employs more than a million people across China, has been under the spotlight for the last few years following reports of employees suffering poor living and working conditions. More recently, the company has apparently been implementing changes in an attempt to improve the situation.

The Fair Labor Association said in August that Foxconn had been making good progress towards its goal of providing better living and working conditions, though if Sunday night’s disturbance can be attributed to a frustrated and beleaguered workforce cracking under the strain, it clearly still has some way to go until its job is complete.