Home / News / India /  Apple supplier Wistron fires India VP, admits mistakes in expansion plans

BENGALURU : Apple supplier Wistron on Saturday fired the vice-president of its India operations and acknowledged that it couldn't cope up with the expansion plans, violated several laws.

"This is a new facility and we recognize that we made mistakes as we expanded. Some of the processes we put in place to manage labour agencies and payments need to be strengthened and upgraded. We are taking immediate action to correct this, including disciplinary action. We are removing the Vice President who oversees our business in India," Wistron said in a statement.

The statement comes a week after violence broke out in the Taiwanese manufacturing firm's plant at Narasapura in Kolar, about 60 km from Bengaluru.

Wistron also acknowledged that salaries had not been paid to its contract workers, which multiple state government-commissioned reports have also found. Non-payment of salaries, unexplained wage cuts and working hours among other reasons is said to have fuelled anger among the workforce.

The incident at Wistron has made international headlines and was being played on loop on TV channels globally, that has the potential to dent the country's investment climate and its flagship 'Make in India' campaign.

The company said that it was also enhancing processes and restructuring its teams to avoid a repeat of such incidents.

"Since the unfortunate events at our Narasapura facility we have been investigating and have found that some workers were not paid correctly, or on time. We deeply regret this and apologize to all of our workers," the statement noted.

The role of six staffing firms that supplied contract workers to Wistron are under scrutiny for allegedly siphoning of lion's share of salaries and withholding other dues.

The police are on the lookout for nearly 7,000 unnamed persons for allegedly being involved in the violence.

Wistron said that it has suffered losses to the tune of around 52 crore. The company initially stated that it had incurred losses of around 437 crore, including 412 crore in looting of iPhones, laptops and other machinery.

The company has around 8500 contract workers and 1500 permanent employees. Reports by the state government have pointed out violations in expanding the workforce without requisite approvals or infrastructure.

The government also found that the HR department did not have "personnel of sound knowledge of labour laws."

A government report also said that the change in work hours from eight to 12 hours was not communicated to workers properly nor were they paid for over time.

Despite the violations, the B.S.Yediyurappa-led state government has assured all support to reopen the plant in the next 10-15 days.

The centre has also sought a report from the state government.

The company said that it had set up an employee assistance programme and a 24-hour grievance hotline in multiple languages to ensure all concerns of employees are voiced anonymously

"We are deeply committed to our business and employees in India. We are working diligently on corrective actions to ensure this does not happen again," the company said in a statement.

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