BEIJING/TAIPEI, Oct 9 (Reuters) - More than 1,000 employees went on strike at a China factory owned by Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, the world’s biggest electronics contract manufacturer, demanding higher wages and better benefits, a labour watchdog said on Thursday.
The workers held the strike at the factory run by Foxconn, Hon Hai’s trade name, in the southwestern city of Chongqing on Wednesday, after the company “significantly” cut workers’ overtime hours in the wake of reduced orders from client Hewlett-Packard Co (HP), said U.S.-based China Labor Watch (CLW).
It was unclear if the strike had continued into Thursday, Kevin Slaten, a programme coordinator with CLW, told Reuters by telephone from New York.
Slaten estimated the factory employs about 100,000 workers. Pictures provided by CLW of the strike which were reviewed by Reuters showed about a thousand workers in front of the gate to an industrial zone holding red banners that stated: “We want to eat and raise our families” and “We aren’t robots”.
The Taiwanese company is frequently plagued by labour disputes, a growing point of tension in China where disputes often flare up over workers’ rights and compensation. Critics of such strikes say people use them as a negotiating tactic to improve wages, benefits and severance packages.
Hon Hai declined to provide immediate comment.
CLW said it was the second strike this year at the same factory related to HP production cuts. HP also declined to provide immediate comment.
Hon Hai assembles Apple Inc’s iPhones, iPads and laptops, as well as computers and servers for HP and Cisco Systems Inc. The factory in Chongqing is not listed as a certified Apple supplier.
Other Taiwanese companies have seen similar protests. Workers at a plant in Dongguan owned by Taiwanese touch-screen maker Wintek Corp went on strike in mid-September to protest what they considered poor holiday benefits.
Hon Hai has come under fire from labour groups before, particularly in China where many of its production facilities are located. Worker’s deaths have been closely scrutinised and reported following a spate of employee suicides in China in 2010.
In July, a Hon Hai employee was found dead outside the company’s campus in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen. The company said it was working with authorities on finding the cause.
Last month, Hon Hai said it was in talks with union representatives in Brazil to end a strike at one of its plants in the South American country. (Reporting by Paul Carsten in BEIJING and Michael Gold in TAIPEI)