Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn has sacked 16 workers in one of its factories in southern China after the workers protested over social benefits, according to NGO China Labor Bulletin.

The dismissed workers were among 50 employees at a Foxconn facility in Shenzhen, Guangdong who accused the company of not paying insurance contributions which are legally required.

Workers hold up a banner saying “Foxconn is deceiving its workers by withholding their rightful benefits”. Photo: China Labour Bulletin.

The 50 workers held up a banner saying “Foxconn is deceiving its workers by withholding their rightful benefits” on September 8. Sixteen of them were sacked within three days following the demonstration, China Labor Bulletin said on Tuesday.

According to the workers, the world’s biggest electronics contractor manufacturer has been paying its Chinese workers social insurance based on their basic salaries instead of their full salaries.

Foxconn. Photo: bendibao.com

Employers in China are required to pay monthly contributions to their employees’ social insurance accounts, which include pension funds, medical insurance, housing funds and others. The rate of contribution varies from region to region but companies usually have to pay at least 20 percent of employees’ salaries to their social insurance accounts on top of the monthly wage. To skirt high payments, employers sometimes set a very low basic salary which they use to calculate social benefits but add “allowances” to push up the full wage.

One of the sacked workers, who had worked at Foxconn’s Shenzhen factory for nine years, told China Labour Bulletin that most employees at the factory were unaware of the company’s illegal practice.

“We want to settle the dispute through negotiation. But the company sacked us before we could organise more workers to join the effort,” the man identified as Huang said.

Workers outside a Foxconn facility in Shenzhen. Photo: Sina

Foxconn employs around 1.2 million people in mainland China and is still short of workers, according to a 2014 report by mainland media China Times. The manufacturer produces Apple iPhones, iPads and servers for IBM and Dell, among other electronics.

The well-being of Foxconn’s workers attracted public concern in 2010 after more than a dozen workers committed suicide throughout the year.

HKFP has reached out to Foxconn for comment.

Vivienne Zeng

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.