Apple Supplier Foxconn Reopens After Brawl
A Chinese factory producing the iPhone 5 has reopened after 5,000 police stepped in to end a huge brawl between workers and security staff.
Police said at least 2,000 staff were involved and about 40 were injured in the violence that took four hours to bring under control.
Photos posted online, the authenticity of which could not be verified, showed crowds of workers, a building with shattered windows and an overturned police car.
The state-run People's Daily newspaper quoted workers as saying the fight began after security guards beat staff from eastern Shandong province, prompting labourers from that area and neighbouring Henan province to join in.
"Ultimately this grew into a chaotic scene of large numbers of workers chasing and beating security employees," it said.
One unnamed employee told AP: "Foxconn, some supervisors, and security guards never respect us.
"We all have this anger toward them and they (the workers) wanted to destroy things to release this anger."
Foxconn's Taiwanese parent company Hon Hai, however, said the fight began over a personal dispute between some of the workers.
It also denied reports that tensions had been raised at the factory after workers were brought from other areas of China ahead of the iPhone 5 launch.
Foxconn, which employs one million people in China, has faced scrutiny over workers' complaints about wages and working hours. Some employees have described its management style as "military".
Geoffrey Crothall of China Labour Bulletin, a Hong Kong organisation that promotes employee rights in China, said: "Workers are expected to obey their manager at all times, not to question but simply to do what they are told.
"That atmosphere is not conducive to a happy or contented workforce. It's a very dehumanising way of treating workers."
Foxconn raised minimum pay and promised to limit hours after an auditor hired by Apple found employees were regularly required to work more than 60 hours a week.
The Taiyuan plant employs 79,000 workers and makes automobile electronic components, consumer electronic components and precision mouldings.