168 Foxconn workers arrested for trying to enter Chennai plant

More than 150 employees at Hon Hai Precision Industry Co's Chennai factory were arrested on Monday as they attempted to force entry to the mobile phone plant earmarked for closure at the end of the month.

Hon Hai, which trades as Foxconn, announced on December 11 that it would close the factory, coming close on the heels of a similar move by Nokia and delivering a second blow for the government as it seeks to beef up the country's manufacturing sector.

Hon Hai is the world's largest contract manufacturer of electronic goods and counted Nokia as a major client in India. Its plant in southern India employed about 1,700 workers.

About 168 workers were arrested, including 16 women, when they tried to enter the factory, said E Muthukumar, president of Foxconn India Employees Union.

A Hon Hai spokesman declined to comment.

Vijaya Kumar, superintendent of police at Kancheepuram district, said the arrests were a preventative measure and that the workers were likely to be released soon.

The employees had been trying to gain entry in protest at the lack of any formal notice of closure, the employee union's president said.

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