Foxconn guards loom over Taiyuan workers, report says

The company's security teams are reportedly wearing riot helmets and holding plastic shields as they march around the facility.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
Jay Greene/CNET

The 79,000 workers at Foxconn's Taiyuan production facility are under the supervision of heavily protected guards, according to a new report.

Security guards working at the facility in the Shanxi province in northern China are wearing riot helmets and holding plastic shields as they march around the plant, Bloomberg is reporting. The workers, meanwhile, are cranking out products.

"The guards here use gangster style to manage," Fang Zhongyang, a Foxconn employee, told Bloomberg in an interview. "We are not against following rules but you have to tell us why. They won't explain things and we feel like we cannot communicate with them."

Foxconn closed its Taiyuan factory early Monday after approximately 2,000 employees rioted for several hours. It's not clear exactly what prompted the riot, but it's believed that it was possibly sparked by a guard striking a worker over a conflict related to overtime pay. Foxconn confirmed the riot earlier this week, saying that many workers were injured and sent to the hospital. A day later, the factory was reopened.

Just yesterday, Foxconn said in a statement that it will "ensure its duties relating to employee welfare are implemented and it will make overtime payments as promised."

Foxconn has come under fire for working conditions across its many factories. Earlier this year, the Fair Labor Association investigated Foxconn's facilities at Apple's request, and found that the company in some cases failed to provide adequate overtime pay and forced employees to work excessive hours. Foxconn has pledged to address the Fair Labor Association's concerns and has implemented some programs to improve working conditions.

CNET has contacted Foxconn for comment on the Bloomberg report. We will update this story when we have more information.

The making of an iPhone (pictures)

See all photos

From rocks to recycling: The life of an iPhone
See also: CNET's special report on the iPhone's life cycle, from mining of minerals to manufacturing in China to you the user and beyond.

Inside Scoop:
Watch this: Behind the silk curtain of iPhone manufacturing