Chinese Workers at Apple Supplier Pegatron Protest Over Unpaid Bonuses 

December 23, 2020 Updated: December 23, 2020

Around one thousand workers protested in front of the assembly plant of Apple supplier Pegatron in Shanghai on Dec. 19. An employee told The Epoch Times that the workers did not get the bonuses that were promised to them. Protesters were allegedly beaten as police dispersed the crowds and nearly a dozen protesters were detained, a witness said.

Pegatron, the second-largest iPhone assembler after Foxconn, is a design, manufacturing, and service company. Its products include notebooks, motherboards, drives, and other tech parts. The company is headquartered in Taiwan and operates in China, with a facility in Shanghai that was established in 2004 in Kangqiao Industry Park, Pudong New Area.

Protesters Beaten and Detained

A witness, Zhang Hua (a pseudonym), told The Epoch Times that he saw many people rallying in front of the entrance gate of Pegatron’s assembly plant at 9 a.m. on Dec. 19, and nine police cars, and three ambulances were at the scene.

Zhang said that more than ten protesters were detained and most people at the scene were too afraid to stop the police from taking them away. But a small group shouted at the police, demanding them to release the protesters.

“The organizer of the protest was arrested first. Then the (police) began to beat protesters,” Zhang added.

Zhang said that when the police stood in formation in the middle of the large crowd, a clash broke out between the two sides.

“It was the police that struck us first. Then we began to resist. One man was injured so seriously that he couldn’t get up from the ground after the police beat him with a baton. I saw it while standing at Gate 5 of the plant,” he said.

The protest continued until around 3 p.m. that day.

The next day, Zhang said police went to the workers’ dormitories at the plant to arrest those who took part in the protest. “They took pictures, wrote down names, and arrested individuals that they saw in the video footage [from surveillance cameras]. This event has not been resolved until now.”

The Epoch Times has not received any updates on the status of the individuals held in custody.

No Bonuses

A Pegatron employee, Li Ning (a pseudonym), told The Epoch Times that the company promised to give out bonuses but it failed to do so, which caused outrage among workers and led to the large-scale protest.

Li said that the average bonus varies from 8,000 yuan (about $1,221) to 15,000 yuan (about $2,289). This is a one-time bonus incentive that Chinese employment agencies use to attract job seekers, especially when tech companies are in urgent need of temporary workers during busy seasons. In general, employers are reluctant to pay such bonuses, Li said.

He claimed that the management at Pegatron’s Shanghai plant attempted to avoid giving out bonuses by relocating workers to the assembly plant in Kunshan or giving them a bad performance review. This tactic is meant to discourage workers, leading them to resign.

Li revealed that after the protest, the Shanghai branch issued a notice to appease the workers, claiming that the relocation to the Kunshan plant would not affect bonuses. However, he claimed that the notice was allegedly taken down on the same day it was posted on Dec. 21 and the management retracted their promise of giving out the bonuses.