Foxconn reopens TN iPhone plant 3 weeks after women-led protests

In December, around 4,000 women took to the streets after 250 Foxconn workers living in the facility’s dormitories suffered food poisoning, with some having to be hospitalised

In December, the Foxconn plant became the centre of a controversy after over 250 workers fell ill due to food poisoning at an off-site hostel

The Sriperumbudur-based iPhone manufacturing facility run by Apple supplier, Foxconn, will partially reopen on Wednesday, three weeks after it was shut down in the wake of protests by its employees – mostly women.

The company is currently conducting COVID-19 tests for women returning to work at the facility. 

In December, around 4,000 women took to the streets after 250 Foxconn workers living in the facility’s dormitories suffered food poisoning, with some having to be hospitalised.

The women were demanding better facilities, including clean sanitation and water. Reports said many women avoided using toilets at the dormitories and instead waited for their shift to begin to use the washrooms at the workplace. They also complained of cramped living quarters at the dorms.

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Also read: TN food poisoning: Apple supplier Foxconn to restructure local team

After the protests exposed labour conditions at Foxconn, Apple, which recently hit $3 trillion valuation, put its contractor on probation, demanding rapid action.

In a statement shortly after the controversy began, Apple said: “We will ensure our strict standards are met before the facility reopens. We will continue to monitor conditions closely.”

The Tamil Nadu government also told Foxconn to improve amenities and obtain the collector’s approval before reopening. In a statement, Hon Hai Precision Industry, which trades as Foxconn Technology Group, said: “It’s taken corrective action, with a rigorous monitoring system to allow workers to raise concerns, even anonymously.

“We continue to support our employees and thank them for their patience as we work through the improvements,” it added.

Women’s rights activist and Indian ambassador for women’s entrepreneurship Madhu Saran said: “Basic infrastructure for women in workplaces is much needed, like toilets, canteens, dorms. There needs to be regular monitoring by the government, labour and law departments.”

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