China Labor Watch said that between 3,000 and 4,000 workers struck at Foxconn's Zhengzhou complex in central China on Friday. The workers, it reported, were angered by what was called the pressure of over-exacting quality control requirements as well as demands that they work through the week-long National Day holiday, which began on Monday. In addition, there were reports of several incidents in which quality control inspectors were beaten.
However, on Saturday, Foxconn, a division of Hon Hai, denied the report and said the plant experienced only two brief and small labor disputes. Furthermore, the company said, those incidents took place days earlier, between Oct. 1 and Oct. 2.
In a statement emailed to media, Foxconn said:
"Any reports that there has been an employee strike are inaccurate ... there has been no workplace stoppage in that facility or any other Foxconn facility and production has continued on schedule."
Foxconn did confirm in the email that quality requirements for the iPhone 5 had been tightened, stating that Apple had requested its largest manufacturing partner to institute greater quality controls on production.
"The instruction to strengthen quality inspections for the iPhone 5 was given by Apple Inc. following multiple complaints from customers regarding aesthetic flaws in the phone."
While not indicating details of the apparently cosmetic issues, the complaints could be related to "Scratchgate," the term used to describe what some customers have noted: the ease with which the iPhone 5's aluminum surface is scratched. Some customers have said that their phones came with scratches, right out of the box; Apple has said that the scratching is normal for aluminum products.