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Hundreds of MacBook Pro workers break through barriers


Video footage (below) has been shared, showing hundreds of MacBook Pro workers breaking through COVID barriers intended to keep them inside a Chinese plant. Some can be seen fighting with guards dressed in white protective coveralls.

The plant, operated by Quanta Computer, is operating under strict lockdown conditions which go even further than the ‘closed-loop’ production system used at many facilities making Apple products…

Background

While most countries accept that we will have to learn to live with COVID-19, the Chinese government believes that it is possible to completely eradicate the infection from the country. It is applying strict lockdowns when even a handful of cases are discovered within a city.

Just this week, Zhengzhou –dubbed iPhone City, as it is home to the largest iPhone plant in the world – went into lockdown.

To avoid closing production plants, ‘closed-loop’ production processes are permitted. This is where workers live in on-site dormitories, with none of them allowed to enter or leave the facility for a month or more at a time. Apple was hoping that this approach could enable it to protect iPhone 14 production by recruiting workers before they were needed, but this plan has now been suspended.

Quanta’s iPhone plant in Shanghai operates the closed-loop system.

MacBook Pro workers break through COVID barriers

Taiwan’s Economic Daily reports that hundreds of MacBook Pro workers climbed over barriers intended to keep them within the plant. It happened when workers on a break were denied permission to return to their dormitories to rest.

Bloomberg describes it as a major challenge to the Chinese government containment policy.

Hundreds of workers at a technology factory in China clashed with authorities and flooded past isolation barriers after weeks under lockdown, a stunning breakdown in the Communist Party’s efforts to contain Covid-19 infections.

The Shanghai factory, which is owned by Taiwan’s Quanta Computer Inc. and makes devices for Apple Inc. among others, has been operating under tight restrictions since the beginning of April. In a video shared on Twitter and YouTube, workers rushed through barriers and tangled with guards in white protective gear who tried to keep them inside.

Quanta employees confirmed the clash occurred Thursday evening, while the company did not immediately provide a comment. One worker said people are worried about further tightening because there are positive Covid cases on the campus. The government is taking a central role in managing the plant’s operations, said another employee on-site.

The population of Shanghai – which has been subjected to some of the most severe and lasting lockdowns – is growing increasingly frustrated at the containment policy, but it is rare to see such direct rebellion in a country known for harsh punishments for those who defy government dictates .

Further MacBook Pro delays likely

While the main concern here is of course for the workers, it’s also likely to be bad news for those waiting for MacBook Pro to deliveries.

Economic Daily says Quanta’s plant is only operating at around 30% capacity due to the disruption, and doesn’t expect to achieve better than 50% even when things calm down.

This is likely to further lengthen delays for MacBook Pro orders, which already run into many months. Just yesterday we noted that some readers have been emailed by Apple to be told of delays to orders placed back in February. Some have been told that their machines will not ship until July, some five months after the orders were placed.

Any increase to this delay could see customers waiting half a year for their MacBook Pro models to arrive.

The incident is likely to further add to pressure on the Chinese government to rethink its COVID containment policies.

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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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