(Adds Xinhua report on incident)
TAIPEI/SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Foxconn, theTaiwanese made-to-order electronics giant that assembles AppleInc's products, denied reports that a plant in Chinawas crippled by a strike, saying on Saturday that its productionis on schedule at an important time for Apple.
The report of a strike issued by China Labor Watch, a NewYork-based advocacy group, came weeks after Apple kicked off itslargest-ever global rollout for the new iPhone 5 smartphone.Apple is already struggling with tight availability of thephones in stores, analysts say.
The labor group said 3,000 to 4,000 workers went on strikeat Foxconn's Zhengzhou complex in central China on Friday,angered by over-exacting quality controls as well as demandsthey work through the week-long National Day holiday, whichbegan on Monday.
But Foxconn Technology Group, which has its headquarters inTaiwan, denied the report and said the plant suffered only twobrief and small disputes several days earlier.
"Any reports that there has been an employee strike areinaccurate," the company said in an emailed statement, addingthat "there has been no workplace stoppage in that facility orany other Foxconn facility and production has continued onschedule".
Foxconn said the quarrels happened on Oct. 1-2, and were"immediately addressed and measures taken, including providingadditional staff for the lines in question."
Foxconn also said that employees who worked over China'sNational Day break did so voluntarily and were paid three timestheir usual hourly compensation, as demanded by law.
But China's official Xinhua news agency quoted a governmentspokesman in Zhengzhou as saying some 100 quality inspectors atFoxconn refused to work for an hour on Friday after one wasallegedly beaten by workers irate over the inspection demands.
"The instruction to strengthen quality inspections for theiPhone 5 was given by Apple Inc. following multiple complaintsfrom customers regarding aesthetic flaws in the phone," said theunnamed spokesman for the industrial zone that holds the Foxconnplant. Apple has not commented on the incident.
Tensions have boiled over repeatedly in factories operatedby Foxconn, the Taiwanese contract manufacturing giant thatemploys more than a million and makes most of the world's iPadsand iPhones. Last month, thousands rioted at its Taiyuanfacility in northern China, disrupting production for about 24hours and underscoring the potential for labor unrest.
Foxconn Technology Group of Taiwan, the trading name of HonHai Precision Industry Co , is the world's largestcontract maker of electronics for global brands such as HewlettPackard Co , Nokia and Dell Inc .
Apple and Foxconn have come under fire for poor workingconditions and wages at plants across China. In response, theyhave organized an audit of factory conditions, raised wages,improved safety and reduced overtime, among other measures.
Apple's chief executive officer Tim Cook visited Foxconn'svast complex on the far outskirts of Zhengzhou in late March.
(Reporting By Edwin Chan and Jonathan Standing; Writing byChris Buckley; Editing by Richard Chang and Jeremy Laurence)
Keywords: APPLE FOXCONN/