Apple supplier Foxconn has apologized for a “technical error” in its payment systems, a day after its iPhone factory in China was rocked by angry protests.
Videos showed hundreds of workers marching at the world’s largest iPhone factory in the city of Zhengzhou with grievances about Covid restrictions and claims for back pay.
Those who broadcast the protests live said that the police beat the workers.
A Foxconn worker told the BBC that the situation had now been resolved.
Last month, rising covid cases led to a factory closure, causing some workers to leave and go home. The company then recruited new workers with the promise of generous bonuses.
But one worker said these contracts were changed so they “could not receive the promised subsidy”, adding that they were in quarantine without food.
On Thursday, Foxconn issued a statement saying that “a technical error occurred during the onboarding process,” adding that the pay for recruits was “the same as agreed [on] the official recruiting posters.”
The firm constantly communicated about pay and bonuses with affected employees and did everything possible “to resolve reasonable employee concerns and demands actively.”
A worker also told the BBC on Thursday that he had since received 8,000 yuan ($1,120; £926) and was set to receive another 2,000 yuan. He added that there were no more protesters and that he and his colleagues would return to the Foxconn factory.
The Zhengzhou plant employs more than 200,000 people and makes Apple devices, including the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max.
Separately on Thursday, authorities ordered the city to lock down, saying people would not be able to leave the area unless they had a negative covid test, affecting more than six million people in the city.
It came as China recorded its highest daily number of Covid cases since the pandemic began. The country experienced a wave of outbreaks, affecting several major cities, including Beijing and Guangzhou.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has called on China to recalibrate its zero-covid strategy as its economic growth slows.
The world’s second-largest economy has seen its gross domestic product (GDP) fall by 2.6% in the three months to the end of June from the previous quarter.
“Although the zero covid strategies has become more agile over time, the combination of more contagious covid variants and persistent vaccine gaps have led to the need for more frequent lockdowns, weighing on consumption and investment. the private sector, including housing,” the IMF said.
The world financial organization also called on Beijing to vaccinate more people and offer relief to its crisis-hit real estate sector.
However, some analysts believe that the IMF guidance will not convince China to change its policies.
“Since China is unlikely to go to the IMF for help, it doesn’t matter whether they pay attention to this statement,” Simon Baptist, chief global economist at The Economist Intelligence Unit, told the BBC.