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Huge brawl at Foxconn plant leads to shutdown… iPhone 5 shortage to come?

Being the primary link in the manufacturing chain of Apple devices tends to draw the spotlight, and lately the news swirling around Foxconn has been mostly negative. First it was the alarming suicides that led to nets around the factories, and then you’ll recall the deadly explosion that occurred in Chengdu in May of 2011… Now that iPhone 5 production is in full swing, Foxconn is back in the headlines in connection with a brawl that reportedly involved 2,000 workers.

It’s hard to imagine what a “brawl” of this scope would look like, and even harder to guess what non-work-related issue could have incited it. Officials have not come forward with many details, other than noting that at least 40 people sustained injuries during the fracas.

Okay, so a brawl isn’t what Foxconn needs on the heals of suicides and explosions, but it’s a particularly unwelcome event at the height of iPhone 5 production. With Apple selling out of preorders and launch day stock just as anticipated, you have to imagine that a delay in production at Foxconn might lead to more frustrated customers waiting for their new phones.

But maybe the thing to focus on here is the fact that things have apparently gotten no better at Foxconn following Nightline’s televised visit to a factory. I’m sure nobody expected that visit to work any magic, but what must be going on behind closed doors to lead to this kind of event?

Following the huge fight, Foxconn has already come forward to say that production will resume as usual on Tuesday… At a time when the iPhone 5 is getting all the attention, you have to wonder what it will take before authorities take a serious look at the people making these devices and the working conditions they experience.

 

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