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Foxconn denies strike, says iPhone production is on schedule

Foxconn has denied the strike we heard about yesterday, claiming iPhone 5 production is going to plan.

Yesterday a Chinese labour rights group reported thousands of Foxconn factory line workers had gone on strike over working conditions. Well now Foxconn has denied anything on this scale ever happened.

China Labor Watch said between 3,000 and 4,000 workers in the Zhengzhou complex had downed tools because Foxconn and Apple had "raised overtly strict demands on product quality" without providing adequate training. Foxconn has gone on record as saying there were some brief disputes, but nothing more.

"Any reports that there has been an employee strike are inaccurate," Foxconn said in an emailed statement to Reuters. It added that "there has been no workplace stoppage in that facility or any other Foxconn facility and production has continued on schedule."

Foxconn states the fracases took place on 1-2 October and were "immediately addressed and measures taken, including providing additional staff for the lines in question."

What then of the claims some staff were made to work through China's National Day holiday? Foxconn admits that some did, but voluntarily, and that they were paid three times their usual hourly rate, as they were entitled to be by law.

But China's official Xinhua news agency contradicts this. It quotes a government spokesman in Zhengzhou as saying 100 Foxconn quality inspectors refused to work on Friday. This was after one was allegedly beaten by workers angered at what they saw as unreasonable inspection demands.

The spokesman also claimed the increased pressure on workers came direct from Apple. 

"The instruction to strengthen quality inspections for the iPhone 5 was given by Apple Inc. following multiple complaints from customers regarding aesthetic flaws in the phone," said the unnamed government spokesman. Apple hasn't commented so far.

Foxconn has been criticised for poor working conditions in the past, with a full-scale riot at one plant last month. It was inspected earlier this year, with Apple CEO Tim Cook paying it a visit in March.

As is often the case, it looks like there are a few different versions of what actually happened, and no clear indication as to which might be true.

Let me know what you make of it in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.