Apple supplier Wistron says looking to re-start violence-hit Karnataka factory

Apple supplier Wistron says looking to re-start violence-hit Karnataka factory

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Apple contract manufacturer Wistron on Tuesday said that it was looking to restart operations at its factory in Karnataka, which was shut late last year after workers went on a rampage at the site.

Wistron was working hard to raise standards and fix issues at the plant in Karnataka’s Kolar district, news agency Reuters quoted the Taiwan-headquartered computers and computer peripherals company that manufactures iPhones for Apple and other products, as saying.

In a statement, Wistron said, “We are looking forward to restarting our operations and welcoming back team members and we thank them for their patience and support as we worked through corrective actions.”

Behind the Wistron violence

Contract workers angry over unpaid wages destroyed property, gear, and iPhones on 12 December, causing millions of dollars in losses to Wistron and forcing it to shut the plant.

Production at the plant at Narasapura in Kolar district around 60 km from Bengaluru, employing 1,343 regular workers and 8,490 contract workers, was suspended following the violence.

Apple said Wistron had failed to implement proper working hour management processes, which “led to payment delays for some workers in October and November”.

Following this, Wistron had admitted that some workers at the plant in Karnataka’s Narasapura had not been paid properly or on time, and it was removing a top executive overseeing its India business.

Apple had then said that it will continue to monitor Wistron’s progress on corrective action.

“Our main objective is to make sure all the workers are treated with dignity and respect, and fully compensated promptly,” Apple stated, adding that it continued to investigate issues at the plant, which is located some 50 km outside of the southern tech hub of Bengaluru and assembles one iPhone model.

“This is a new facility and we recognise that we made mistakes as we expanded,” Wistron had said in a statement. “Some of the processes we put in place to manage labour agencies and payments need to be strengthened and upgraded.”

Apple had said its findings indicated violations by Wistron of its Supplier Code of Conduct and that Wistron failed to implement proper working hour management processes.

Apple said that it has placed Wistron on probation and they will monitor the situation closely. Apple employees and independent auditors will remain on-site to validate that the new processes are effective.

“We are dedicated to ensuring that workers are protected and treated with dignity and respect. As Wistron begins the process of hiring team members and restarting their operations, everyone at the facility will undergo a new training programme to ensure they understand their rights and how they can raise any concerns,” Apple has said.

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