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File Photo: Wistron's manufacturing plant  (REUTERS)
File Photo: Wistron's manufacturing plant (REUTERS)

Wistron plant's re-opening delayed due to its internal audit: Karnataka govt

  • The company is carrying out some internal audit, awaiting clearances and are then expected to update us on the status, a government official said
  • The delay in reopening the plant had given an unexpected lift to rival suppliers Foxconn and Pegatron

The reopening of the Wistron’s manufacturing plant in Kolar district, that produces iPhone’s for Apple Inc, is likely to take more time on account of delays on the company’s part, according to a senior Karnataka government official.

“The company is carrying out some internal audit, awaiting clearances and are then expected to update us on the status," said one senior official of the government, requesting anonymity.

The violence by contract workers and others at the Wistron factory in Narasapura in Kolar district, about 60 kms from Bengaluru, on 12 December had forced the company to halt production of products like iPhone-7 and iPhone-SE which it produces and supplies to Apple.

The official cited above said that the state government has offered its full support to reopen the factory and resume operations at the earliest.

Karnataka’s labour minister, Shivaram Hebbar on 16 December, had said that the government will help reopen the factory within the next 15 days. The state government had rushed to contain the damage caused by the incident despite glaring irregularities including labour rights violations, salary dues and unpaid work hours to contract workers as pointed by its own inquiries.

The incident threatened to dent not only Karnataka’s pro-investment image but also Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led centre’s ‘make in India’ campaign.

Though Wistron earlier claimed that it suffered losses to the tune of 437 crores, it was later revised to between 26-52 crores as shares of the company took a hit in the Taiwan stock exchanges.

A senior Wistron official declined to comment on the status of the reopening of the plant.

Meanwhile, several of the workers who were arrested by the police have since been let off after either lack of evidence or have been given bail.

“We received a message from the contractors that we may resume work post the festival (Sankranti on 14 January). We have also received all pending dues on salaries and overtime," said one contract worker, requesting anonymity.

Few others who Mint spoke to have since been let off after a bail amount was deposited while some were found not to have taken part in the violence at the plant.

The delay in reopening the plant had given an unexpected lift to rival suppliers Foxconn and Pegatron, who are angling to capture a larger share of the iPhone maker’s orders as well as from other companies in India, Mint reported on 21 December.

Apple had suspended new business to the Taiwanese manufacturer after its initial investigations pointed out to violations of its supplier side code of conduct.

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