Worker unrest takes violent turn at iPhone maker Wistron’s campus near Bengaluru

  • Mob resorts to stone-pelting, damaging property over non-payment of salaries

Sharan Poovanna (with inputs from Livemint)
Updated12 Dec 2020, 10:42 PM IST
Apple supplier Wistron assembled low-end iPhone SE (now discontinued) and is now assembling iPhone 6S and iPhone 7 at its Bengaluru facility.
Apple supplier Wistron assembled low-end iPhone SE (now discontinued) and is now assembling iPhone 6S and iPhone 7 at its Bengaluru facility.(AP)

Over 130 people have been detained by the police after worker unrest at the Wistron Corp's production facility turned violent on Saturday over non-payment of wages,

The Taiwanese company makes iPhones in its production facility at Narsapura Industrial Area in Kolar district, about 52 kms from Bengaluru.

"The incident occurred over the non-payment of salary dues for several months. The company deals with the manufacturing of Apple iPhones in India," Jagadish Shettar, Karnataka's minister for large industries said in a statement on Saturday.

Seemanth Kumar Singh, the Inspector General of Police (Central range) said that the company is assessing damages and investigations are underway to determine the cause of the incident and those behind it.

Social media was flooded with videos of the incident in which a mob can be seen pelting stones, breaking windows and doors inside what appears to be the office, overturning and setting fire to vehicles in the parking lot while shouting profanities.

The authenticity of the videos could not be independently verified by Mint.

The incident occurred just a day after Ben Wang, the director general of Taipei economic and cultural centre (Chennai) met Karnataka Chief Minister B.S.Yediyurappa in Bengaluru.

Police and other security personnel rushed to the spot to control the situation, the official cited above said.

"The state government has taken steps to develop industries in the state and is committed to the protection of the worker’s right. The problem could have been resolved if it had been adequately addressed as per law”, Shettar added.

One employee who spoke to Mint said that the company was defrauding workers on overtime payments, salary and had even resorted to assault.

"Security guards have lathi-charged at us when we wait in line to punch-in our attendance, at the canteen," said one employee, requesting anonymity.

He said that the company used to cut salaries even if workers were present and had not paid for any extra work which it promised to compensate.

The company declined to comment on the incident.

The unrest at Wistron comes at a time when a few other companies operating out of Karnataka have faced similar trouble with workers.

The deadlock between workers and management of car-maker Toyota Kirloskar Motors Pvt. Ltd (TKM) has been on for over a month now, with both sides refusing to budge from their positions.

TKM had gone into a lockdown on 10 November after production line staff protested against the suspension of one of the office bearers of the workers union.

Despite the intervention of the Karnataka government that asked the company to resume operations and the workers to call off its strike, TKM continues to work with 5% staff strength as most workers are yet to report to work.

The company had gone into lockdown four days after it restarted operations, citing ‘volatile conditions’ prevalent on the premises.

It has since started taking undertakings from workers to allow them back into the factory floor, a move that has added to the simmering tensions between both sides.

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First Published:12 Dec 2020, 10:42 PM IST
HomeCompaniesNewsWorker unrest takes violent turn at iPhone maker Wistron’s campus near Bengaluru

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