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New labor unrest rocked the huge Foxconn iPhone factory in China

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Foxconn logo is seen outside the company’s building in Taipei, Taiwan, November 10, 2022. REUTERS/Ann Wang

Written by Brenda Goh and Yimou Lee

SHANGHAI/TAIPI (Reuters) – Video posted on social media showed protests at Foxconn’s main iPhone factory in China, with some men smashing security cameras and windows.

The rare scenes of open dissent in China represent an escalation of unrest at the massive factory in Zhengzhou that has come to symbolize a dangerous buildup of frustration with the country’s draconian COVID rules as well as the incompetent handling of the situation by the world’s largest contract manufacturer.

Several protesters said in a live broadcast that the outbreak of the protests, which began early Wednesday, appeared to be a plan to delay bonus payments. Reuters could not verify the authenticity of the videos.

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Surrounded by people in hazmat suits and some wielding batons, the workers, according to a video from one of the videos, chanted, “Give us our wages!”. Other footage showed tear gas being fired and workers removing quarantine barriers. Some workers have complained that they have been forced to share dormitories with colleagues who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Foxconn said in a statement that it had fulfilled the payment contracts and that reports of infected employees living on campus with new recruits were “incorrect.”

The company added, “With regard to any acts of violence, the company will continue to communicate with employees and the government to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.”

A source familiar with the situation in Zhengzhou said production at the factory was not affected by workers’ unrest and production remained “normal”.

Reuters had previously reported that Foxconn aimed to resume full production at the Zhengzhou iPhone factory by the second half of November.

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And while the recent unrest has added “doubts” to the target, the source said the company is still working hard to beat it, adding that “only a portion” of the new recruits have been involved in the unrest.

However, a second source familiar with the matter said Foxconn is unlikely to hit the target, pointing to the disruptions caused by the unrest, which particularly affects new recruits hired to fill a gap in the workforce.

“Originally, we were trying to see if the new recruits could go online by the end of November. But with the disruptions, we certainly can’t resume normal production by the end of the month.”

recruitment campaign

Discontent with strict quarantine rules, the company’s inability to crack down on disease outbreaks and poor conditions, including food shortages, has sent workers fleeing the factory campus since supplier Apple Inc (NASDAQ:) imposed a so-called closed-loop system on its largest phone. iPhone in the world. Plant in late October.

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Under closed loop operations, employees live and work on site isolated from the wider world.

Former workers estimated that thousands fled the factory campus. Before the unrest, the Zhengzhou factory employed about 200,000 people. To retain employees and attract more workers, Foxconn had to offer higher bonuses and salaries.

Local authorities have also stepped in to help, with some urging retired soldiers and government workers to take up assignments, according to local media reports.

The first source said that the local authorities’ keenness to recruit workers may have played a role in “miscommunication” with new employees on issues such as allowances and housing.

The Zhengzhou government did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment.

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In the videos, workers talked about how they were never sure whether they would get meals while in quarantine or because of insufficient restrictions to contain the outbreak.

One person said, “Foxconn never treats people as people.”

Apple did not respond to requests for comment.

“It is now clear that closed-loop production at Foxconn only helps prevent the spread of COVID to the city, but does nothing (if not make it worse) for the workers in the factory,” Aiden Chau of China Labor Bulletin, a Hong-based advocacy group, said. Kong in an email.

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As of Wednesday afternoon, most of the footage had been deleted on Kuaishou, a social media platform where Reuters has reviewed many of the videos. Kuaishou did not respond to a request for comment.

The protest images come at a time when investors are wary of escalating global supply chain problems, due in part to China’s COVID-free policies aimed at stamping out every outbreak.

Restrictions and discontent affected production. Reuters reported last month that iPhone production at the Zhengzhou factory could drop by up to 30% in November due to COVID restrictions.

Foxconn is Apple’s largest iPhone maker, accounting for 70% of iPhone shipments globally. Most of the phones are made in the Zhengzhou factory, although it has other smaller production sites in India and southern China.

Shares of Foxconn, officially called Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, have fallen 2% since the unrest erupted in late October.

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BP doubles down on hydrogen as the fuel of the future by Reuters

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2/2

© Reuters. The BP logo is seen at a BP gas station in Manhattan, New York City, US, November 24, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/Files

2/2

Written by Ron Bousso

LONDON (Reuters) – Bernard Looney, chief executive of British Petroleum (NYSE), is betting on hydrogen to power the low-carbon companies of the future as governments in major economies raise money to develop fuels for decarbonization.

Low-carbon hydrogen already has a large fan base and is expected to play a major role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from heavy industry and some forms of transportation.

But it is expensive to produce and often needs government subsidies to compete against fossil fuels.

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The US, for example, offers significant incentives to produce them under President Joe Biden’s $430 billion Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

BP has been responsive and is in the early planning stages of developing a large, low-carbon hydrogen center around its refinery in Whiting, Indiana, Tomica McLeod, BP’s newly appointed head of US hydrogen, told Reuters.

When Looney took office nearly three years ago, he pledged to reshape BP and cut carbon emissions by reducing oil and gas production and developing renewables. He is preparing to brief investors on February 7 on the current situation.

BP sources told Reuters that hydrogen will play a starring role alongside offshore wind.

BP has reformed its structure to create a dedicated hydrogen division led by Philippe Arbelaez which has 150 employees. It has also made several investments in large hydrogen projects, including in Australia, Europe and Britain.

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The company told Reuters that it is also studying the potential for developing green hydrogen in Oman, and is also studying projects in Mauritania.

Company sources said BP’s spending on low-carbon hydrogen remains modest but is expected to grow into the hundreds of millions by the end of the decade as projects start.

BP spent nearly a quarter of its $15.5 billion budget in 2022 on the low-carbon business, when it included the $4.1 billion acquisition of US biogas producer Arkea, according to Reuters calculations.

Company sources said that in February Anja Isabel Dutzenrath, head of renewables at Looney and BP will unveil its clean hydrogen production target for the first time, aiming for a 10% share of hydrogen in “core markets” by 2030.

“Hydrogen is going to be a huge focus, and it’s moving much faster than we ever thought,” CFO Murray Auchinclose told Reuters last month.

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Most hydrogen is currently used in oil refining and fertilizer making and is usually made by heating, a highly polluting process known as gray hydrogen.

But gray hydrogen becomes “blue hydrogen” if polluting emissions are captured. There’s also “green hydrogen,” which is produced by splitting water using electrolysis that’s powered by renewable energy.

To expand its blue hydrogen business, BP is drawing on its expertise in oil and gas to build carbon capture and storage facilities, where carbon is injected into depleted reservoirs.

It also plans to boost its renewable energy generation capacity to 50 gigawatts by 2030, which will be partially used for electric power generation.

BP declined to comment on whether it would set a hydrogen production target or its hydrogen spending plans.

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tax credits

McLeod said BP’s project at the Whiting refinery would initially replace about 200,000 tonnes of gray hydrogen used by the refinery each year with blue hydrogen. The project could start operating by 2026-2027 and expand to green hydrogen.

“Our focus in the US, and it’s similar around the world, is how do we decarbonize and reimagine our own assets,” she said.

The low-carbon fuel in the second phase will be used by other heavy industries in the region to reduce about 36 million tons of carbon dioxide emitted there each year.

The project will rely on subsidies, highlighting the challenge hydrogen faces in competing with low-cost fossil fuels.

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The IRA is offering a $3 per kilogram tax credit for clean hydrogen, which makes green hydrogen equal to or even less than the cost of gray and blue hydrogen, according to analysts.

“With the hydrogen production tax credits now in place … it has allowed green hydrogen to be more competitive,” McLeod said.

McLeod said the subsidies would initially allow green and blue hydrogen to compete with gray hydrogen, allowing consumers to switch to cleaner fuels.

“Demand growth for new hydrogen applications will be a function of cost competitiveness,” said Andy Brogan, global head of oil and gas at EY.

“There are physical components to energy demand where hydrogen is the only clear technologically viable alternative to carbon intensive options,” Brogan said. “However, these are often price sensitive, so rapid acceleration will depend on cost.”

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BP is already one of the largest investors in hydrogen projects among the world’s largest oil and gas companies, including Shell (LON:), TotalEnergies, Repsol (OTC:) and Italy’s Eni, according to Globaldata, a data provider.

BP in June acquired a 40.5% stake in a 26-gigawatt renewable energy project in Australia that could produce green hydrogen. It is developing two projects in Britain where it aims to produce 1.5 gigawatts of blue and green hydrogen by 2030.

Hydrogen production by technology https://www.reuters.com/graphics/HYDROGEN-PRODUCTION/gkvlwgymlpb/chart.png

BP Spending Plans https://www.reuters.com/graphics/OIL-MAJORS/ENERGY-TRANSITION/gkvlgnoxdpb/chart.png

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After 23 Royal Caribbean Cruises, What I Learned About Tipping

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Tipping has always been a mostly voluntary practice that is supposed to revolve around customers rewarding service staff for good service. The problem is that restaurants generally consider tips as part of their wages and don’t pay minimum wages to waiters (which is legal in most places). This makes tipping, while usually optional, very demanding.

That’s kind of how tipping works at Royal Caribbean (RCL) – Get a free report and Carnival Cruise Line (CCL) – Get a free report ships. It’s still technically optional, but opting out of daily tips—what cruise lines call the fee added to your onboard account each day for each person in your room—literally takes money out of the hands of the lowest-level workers on cruise ships.



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Foxconn expects coronavirus-hit China factory to return to full production in late December – early January – Source via Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A picture of the Foxconn logo atop a corporate building in Taipei, Taiwan on October 31, 2022. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rollins/File Photo

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Apple supplier Foxconn expects its coronavirus-hit factory in Zhengzhou, China, to resume full production in late December and early January after worker unrest disrupted the country’s largest iPhone factory, a Foxconn source said on Monday. the scientist.

The Zhengzhou factory is grappling with severe novel coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions that have workers unhappy about conditions at the factory. Apple (NASDAQ:) device production was disrupted ahead of Christmas and the Lunar New Year holidays in January, with many workers either forced to isolate to combat the spread of the virus or flee the factory.

“The capacity is now gradually resuming,” said the person with first-hand knowledge of the matter, as new staff start to be hired. The person declined to be named because the information was private.

“If the hiring process goes smoothly, it may take about three to four weeks to fully resume production,” the person said, referring to a period from late December to early January.

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Foxconn and the local government are working hard on the recruitment campaign but there are still many uncertainties, according to the source. The person referred to “concerns” some workers might have about working for the company after the factory was hit by protests last month that sometimes turned violent.

“We are firing on all cylinders in the recruiting process,” said the person.

Foxconn declined to comment.

Foxconn shares were up 0.5% Monday morning, in line with the 0.6% gain in the broader market.

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