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China Apple strike denied

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The electronics giant Foxconn has denied reports that thousands of workers went on strike at one of its plants in China and halted production of components for Apple's iPhone 5. 

Apple chief executive Tim Cook (left), visited the iPhone production line at the Foxconn plant in Zhengzhou, in north-central Henan province, in March.

The Taiwan-based company acknowledged that two isolated labour disputes had erupted at its plant in Zhengzhou on Monday and Tuesday, but said they were addressed immediately addressed and production of the phones continued.

Foxconn was responding to a report by New York-based China Labour Watchl, which said that between 3,000 and 4,000 workers had gone on strike on Friday over increased product quality levels and demands that workers work through a national holiday.

The disputes marked the latest unrest to hit Foxconn, whose factories in China have been beset by a string of worker suicides in recent years, and follows a massive brawl at one facility last month.

"Any reports that there has been an employee strike are inaccurate, there has been no workplace stoppage in that facility or any other Foxconn facility and production has continued on schedule," said a Foxconn statement issued on Saturday.

"Employees who have worked during the China national holidays at all our operations in China have done so voluntarily and this is supported by written documentation and any reports to the contrary are inaccurate."

China Labour Watch, quoting workers at the plant, claimed the work stoppage resulted in "a state of paralysis" to multiple iPhone 5 production lines.

"This strike is a result of the fact that these workers just have too much pressure," China Labour Watch director Li Qiang said in a statement.

Executives at the factory were not available for comment on Saturday.

Foxconn is the world's largest maker of computer components and assembles products for Apple, Sony, Intel and Nokia, among others.

Its vast plants in China employ up to 1.2 million workers, with nearly half of them at a sprawling complex in Shenzhen, in the south of the country.

Last month, around 5,000 police were deployed to control a huge brawl among workers at a Foxconn plant in the northern city of Taiyuan, where 79,000 people make items including electronic components for automobiles and consumer products.

In 2010, at least 13 Foxconn employees in China died in apparent suicides, which activists blamed on tough working conditions, prompting calls for better treatment of staff.

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