Over 20,000 employees leave Foxconn, casting doubts over Apple's iPhone production capacity

iPhone 14 Pro Max Deep Purple and iPhone 14 Pro Space Black
(Image credit: Future)

Apple's iPhone production problems seem to be on track to get worse. The company has been seeing slower production in recent months. This has happened due to COVID outbreak at its biggest manufacturing unit, which is a Foxconn plant in China. Now, it looks like a similar problem is about to occur again, but for a different reason.

It appears that about 20,000 employees have left Foxconn, which is likely to leave a major gap in the company's production capabilities. This news follows the recent reports of employee riots at the Zhengzhou plant in question.

Apple's handling the crisis, but it might be too late

Earlier today, a statement from Apple confirmed that it is handling the situation at the Zhengzhou plant, where employees have been rioting due to missing payments. Apple is actively working on a solution to the employees' issues, but it might be too late for damage control in this situation.

The riots have to do with a missing bonus payment that Foxconn had promised but failed to fulfill. The Zhengzhou plant had a COVID outbreak back in October, leading to a strict lockdown with employees fleeing the company. To replace the employees that left, Foxconn made a bunch of new hires.

The new hires were promised 10,000 yuan (US$1,400) if they chose to leave. Foxconn, however, failed to honor this bonus payment, agitating the workers and leading to violent riots. The company has blamed it on a technical error and agreed to honor the payment. However, a new report from Reuters says that about 20,000 employees have left already.

This puts a strain on the plant's capacity to produce the best iPhones, which Apple aims to keep in stock for the holiday season. With iPhone shipment timelines already having slipped, the biggest iPhone manufacturing plant losing 20,000 employees could signal a further slip, potentially leading to longer-than-ever shipping times for iPhones.

Palash Volvoikar

Palash has been a technology and entertainment journalist since 2013. Starting with Android news and features, he has also worked as the news head for Wiki of Thrones, and a freelance writer for Windows Central, Observer, MakeUseOf, MySmartPrice, ThinkComputers, and others. He also worked as a writer and journalist for Android Authority, covering computing, before returning to freelancing all over town.