There were violent clashes between workers and security forces at the world’s largest iPhone factory, operated by Foxconn Technology Group in the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou, over employee benefits on Tuesday night and Wednesday, according to images and video clips posted on social media platforms and confirmed to the Post by two workers. In one video clip, hundreds of workers were seen marching down a road, throwing sticks and bricks at anti-riot police standing in front of them. Another video showed a large group of workers on the side of a road being hemmed in by a wall of hazmat-suited personnel. In another video, workers were seen smashing up Covid-19 testing kiosks with steel bars, chairs and fire extinguishers to shouts of “smash it up”. Foxconn, officially known as Hon Hai Precision Industry, said in a statement that there had been public protests and “violence” at the factory. The Taiwanese company said that “some new hires” at the Zhengzhou campus had complained to the company about work allowances. “With respect to violence, the company will continue to communicate with employees and the government to prevent similar incidents from happening again”, the company said in a statement on Wednesday. Former TSMC, SMIC executive Chiang Shang-yi joins Foxconn as top chip adviser According to two former workers at the Foxconn Zhengzhou plant who asked for anonymity and who have maintained close contact with former colleagues, hundreds of workers stormed out of their dormitories and ripped down steel fences outside the buildings on Tuesday evening because they believed that the company had failed to honour certain recruitment promises. One former worker said that the terms of a “retention allowance”, which had been promised to new employees who stay at the plant until February 15, 2023 had been changed, according to reports. Workers now need to stay until March 15 to receive the bonus - an extra month. Foxconn said in its statement that “the allowance has always been honoured based on contractual obligations and [we] will continue to communicate with relevant colleagues [on the issue]”. Other grievances include anger over alleged arrangements whereby the company asked some workers to share dormitories with colleagues who had been confirmed as having Covid-19, according to the two workers who asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter. Foxconn denied this allegation and said all dormitories had been disinfected before new hires moved in. Apple extends wait time in China for popular iPhone 14 models up to January The scenes of violence have shattered the image that local official media had painted of a smooth resumption of production at the Foxconn Zhengzhou plant after a previous exodus of thousands of workers due to Covid-19 outbreaks damaged capacity. The worker outflow prompted Apple to issue a rare warning earlier this month about reduced shipments of iPhone 14 models. The flare-up highlights the dilemma China faces between keeping its zero tolerance of Covid-19 while maintaining normal production. On the one hand, the Foxconn plant has had to impose draconian controls such as requiring new hires to undergo quarantine for days and telling workers to follow strict separation rules, while on the other hand it has had to maintain production at peak operating levels. One of the workers the Post spoke to, who fled the Foxconn campus when there were previous reports of positive Covid-19 cases, said that the situation inside the plant had become “more terrible” in recent weeks, according to the reports he had heard, due to the chaos caused by draconian controls.