On Monday, Apple Inc said it is probing whether Wistron Corp, a Taiwan contractor, flouted supplier rules at an Indian iPhone manufacturing facility after some staff ransacked the factory in a protest over unpaid salaries.
On Saturday, thousands of contract employees assembled to claim unpaid compensation and improved working hours on the grounds of the Wistron site on the outskirts of Bengaluru.
The crowd became aggressive when officers approached, and footage from the scene shows individuals armed with rods and sticks destroying machinery and vandalizing vehicles, causing damage to what the company measured at $60 million.
Apple said in an email, adding that it was committed to ensuring that everyone in its supply chain was treated with integrity and respect, “We have teams on the ground and have immediately launched a detailed investigation at Wistron’s Narasapura facility,”
Apple said it was sending workers and auditors to the site and cooperating with their inquiry with the authorities.
In a regulatory filing in Taiwan, Wistron, one of Apple’s largest global suppliers, said it always abides by the law, and fully supports and is cooperating with relevant authorities”
For almost four years, Wistron has been producing iPhones in India and its operation has been seen as a success story for the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which aims to improve demand.
“The incident hurts the ‘Make in India’ label,” said Harish Bijoor, an independent brand analyst, referring to the slogan of the government promotion program. “Such events are small scars left on India as a manufacturing facility.”
Under Tim Cook’s leadership, Apple has tried not only to grow its marketing and presence in India – one of the world’s largest smartphone markets – but also to broaden its sourcing footprint in the South Asian region.
A minister from Karnataka, where the factory is based, said the government was talking to all parties and that any underpayment of salaries and non-clearance of other dues was being investigated by the labor department.
Millions In Damages
Videos taken by workers at the Wistron factory shows individuals, many wearing masks, smashing surveillance cameras, walls, and other equipment due to the coronavirus outbreak.
According to a police report filed by Wistron and checked by Reuters, the mob smashed four vehicles, two golf carts, stole computers and smartphones, and burned other office facilities.
Wistron charged more than 5,000 contract employees and about 2,000 unnamed persons of the loss of property in the suit. It put the losses at 438 crore Rs.
A senior officer said that 149 suspects were detained by police over the attack, while a search was underway to find and apprehend further offenders while the investigation continued.
Leader of the labor union M.D. The violence was a direct product of the “brutal exploitation of workers and sweatshop like conditions” Harigovind said.
Wistron, whose staff are not unionized, did not address questions requesting comment on the claims, but said earlier in a statement that it was “deeply shocked” by the abuse it blamed on “unknown persons … with unclear intentions”