Semiconductor Workers Spend Four Days Locked in at Work During Lockdown

ASE Shanghai
ASE Shanghai (Image credit: ASE)

Workers at semiconductor manufacturing facilities in Shanghai are being locked-in during the lockdown. China is fighting a rapidly spreading virus outbreak by implementing a tough lockdown in Shanghai, as it continues to pursue its Zero-Covid strategy. Important Taiwanese semiconductor firms such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE) and Wafer Works operate in the affected area.

Taiwan's Liberty Times has published a report that says several of the island's firms with factories in Shanghai are locking-in staff to avoid curbs on personnel movement affecting factory output. It says that production workers at TSMC, ASE and Wafer Works are eating and sleeping in the factory area. There's no word on shower facilities, but hopefully those are present as well.

Normal production is being maintained, says the source. However, those arriving for work will have to stay for four days to keep in line with local government regulations with regard to the virus screening procedures. It is a complex and fluid situation, as different zones in Shanghai are going through different lockdown and testing phases.

ASE said that it has several subsidiary operations in Shanghai and is following local government policies and strict management procedures. Production line employees are being given food and sleeping facilities to pass this difficult time. ASE estimated that the increased logistics and employee care costs would have a limited impact on its business. So its chip assembling and testing works shouldn't slow and cause any adverse effects on the rest of the supply chain.

Wafer Works confirmed that employees can only enter the factory, but not exit, at this time. It has 300-400 employees in Shanghai and, like ASE, has provided food and lodging on site, so workers don't have to leave and get stuck at home during lockdown.

TSMC didn't provide any statement about lockdowns in Shanghai affecting operations. It is known that its Shanghai plant works on older 8-inch, or 200mm, wafers and its profits were up by nearly 20% last year. It employs at least 1,000 people at its Songjiang, Shanghai facility.

This is the biggest lockdown in Shanghai in two years according to the AP, affecting up to 26 million people. At the moment, it seems employees are willing to spend a few days camping at work, but we don't know what kind of contracts / pressure they are under. Moreover, we don't know how long this Shanghai lockdown will continue, or if it will be successful against the ever more infectious strains of the virus.

Will employees get fed up before the lockdown ends, and they can get back to their everyday family lives? If the lockdown goes on too long for employees to endure, there may be serious impacts on semiconductor output from the Shanghai area.

Mark Tyson
News Editor

Mark Tyson is a news editor at Tom's Hardware. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.

  • bigdragon
    This is inhumane. 4+ days stuck at work to keep production steady? That's the same sort of crap game developers are known to try. People should be able to live outside of work. Life needs to be more than work.
  • jkflipflop98
    "We haven't really noticed anything different than usual" one worker is reported as saying
  • peachpuff
    jkflipflop98 said:
    "We haven't really noticed anything different than usual" one worker is reported as saying
    He'll get a promotion... guaranteed.