Published December 15, 2020
A riot erupted at the Wistron iPhone factory in Narasapura, India over unpaid wages, causing an estimated $60 million dollars of damage.
The riot involved almost 2,000 workers who rose up against the capitalist conditions of exploitation at the iPhone factory.
Videos from within the factory show rioters starting a fire, damaging machinery, smashing windows, and even overturning cars in the parking lot.
Militant workers destroyed the company’s furniture, assembly units and set fire to vehicles. The riot was sparked by anger that the company was not paying the amount that was promised to them at the time of joining.
Thousands of iPhones were expropriated during the riot. The uprising has caused Wistron to suspend production of iPhones for two weeks. Because the
incident occurred before the peak Christmas season, Wistron’s losses could be larger than the preliminary estimate.
Apple has vowed to investigate after workers staged a riot at an iPhone factory in India amid allegations of exploitation and unpaid wages at the plant. Cars were flipped over and set on fire while glass panels were smashed with rods and lights, fans and CCTV cameras were torn down during the rioting on Saturday.Dec 14, 2020
Workers riot at India iPhone factory over shifts | Daily Mail Online
Workers Unpaid for 3 Months
Intense protests broke out at India’s Apple contracts Wistron, a Taiwanese manufacturer with a plant located in Kolar city of Karnataka, where the products are being assembled and sold in the region and surrounding areas.
The protests that broke out over the weekend because salaries being held from factory workers and it have been alleged that protests broke into riots and resulted in thousands of iPhones being looted from the factory.
Looking at the videos posted on the Social Network Service (SNS), workers wielded iron bars and clubs to damage glass and fixtures, production facilities, and security cameras in factory buildings.
Wistron estimates that the overall damage runs up to about Rs 437-crore (over $59 million). This includes damages to the factory assembly line, factory property, and thousands of stolen iPhones. The violence is reported to have lasted two hours, during which time the damage took place this Saturday, The Times of India reported.
Quoting State Labor Minister Shrvram Hebbar, reports said that Wistron contracted six companies to hire around 8,900 employees at the Kolar plant. These contractors were paid by the company for their laborers, but Wistron has had conflict with the contract laborers for as long as three months, according to the government. The Labor Minister condemned the violence, calling the company’s losses ‘unacceptable’.
Industries minister Jagadish Shettar attributed the violence to miscommunications between the three parties: Wistron, the labor contractors, and the employees. “What we hear is that the company had made payments to the labour contractors, who delayed payments to the employees. This is being verified,” the report quoted Shettar as having said.
The labor department has issued notices to Wistron, stating that the company had three days to pay the employees, whether its from Wistron or the labor contractors. Kolar police are investigating whether the violence was planned as intentional acts to destroy property.
The company is doing its utmost to get the plant back up and running, it said. Wistron shares fell around 2.5 per cent in early Asia trade, underperforming Taiwan’s broader stock market.