‘Labour Violations’ By Apple Supplier Wistron Found In Initial Investigation Of Its Factory Vandalism

A number of violations by Taiwanese firm and Apple supplier Wistron and its vendors were found in a preliminary investigation by an Indian labour office into the violence last weekend at the factory of the company in the Southern Indian city of Bengaluru, India, said reports quoting sources.  

Workers at the factory, angry at not having been paid salaries for months, engaged in vandalism at the factory, smashing equipment and iPhones at the unit on Saturday. The company claimed that the incident resulted in a loss of property worth millions of dollars. It was also forced to shut down the plant after the incident.

In a report by the labour department in Karnataka state’s Kolar district, where the factory is located, stated that it had found “several labour law violations”, in an audit of the factory done hours after the rampage.

There were no comments available on the media reports by Wistron, one of Apple’s top global contract manufacturers.

There were also no comments from Apple, which is itself carrying out an audit of the supplier to find out whether the Taiwanese company has violated supplier guidelines.

There was no evidence of maintaining proper employment and appointment details of workers and staff of Wistron, the labour office said. Workers were forced to work in 12 hour shifts at the Kolar plant and were found to have not been paid their dues for overtime.

Salary and attendance records as required by law, were not maintained at the factory while the contract staff were unhappy because they had not been paid their wages for extra work hours, said the labour department report. It also added that Wistron was unable to file the documents when asked for.

Three of the manpower providers of Wistron for the factory – Creative Engineers, Quess Corp and Addeco India, had also hired more workers than is permitted under government rules, the report also found.

No comments were also available from the manpower suppliers.

The workers complaining about not getting full wages owed to them was traced back to a glitch in an attendance machine or software, the preliminary investigation in ot the incident also found.

“This was brought to the notice of the management, and this was not addressed,” the office said.

The claims of the workers of the plant son after the incident as given to the local media were confirmed by the initial report of the investigation.

Wistron was ordered by the auditors of the local labour department to submit some documents within three days. It was not clear whether Wistron had done so.

This week, the local state government had said that it would provide aid to Wistron to re-start operations at the factory while also addressing the concerns of the workers.

The local government has however been criticised by trade unions of “going soft” on the company and not empathizing with the workers who were forced to work in “sweatshop-like conditions”.

(Adapted from Reuters.com)

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