iPhone maker Wistron resumes operations in Karnataka


Apple’s iPhone contract manufacturer Wistron Corporation of Taiwan resumed operations at its mobile plant in Karnataka’s Kolar town, state Industries Minister Jagadish Shettar said on Wednesday.

“Wistron resumed operations at its Kolar plant after it remained shut since December 12 following a violent attack on its facility by a section of its staff over delayed payments and longer shifts,” Shettar told reporters at Narasapura industrial area, about 70km east of Bengaluru.

Terming the violent attack on the plant unfortunate, Shettar said Karnataka was an industrial-friendly state and the government was working hard to create a conducive environment for industries.

“As the violence occurred due to wage-related issues and led to its sudden shutdown, we do not want a repeat of such incidents,” said Shettar.

The minister told Wistron employees to approach the district administration to resolve issues related to their wages and working.

“No issue can be resolved through violence. The factory stopped production due to violent incidents on December 12 and disrupted operations. In future, try to find an amicable solution with the management and district officials and do not resort to violence,” reiterated Shettar.

State industries secretary Gaurav Gupta, industries commissioner Gunjan Krishna and Kolar Police Superintendent Karthik Reddy accompanied the minister during his visit to the plant.

The Taipei-based Wistron estimated Rs 54-crore loss due to the violence at its Narasapura plant.

About 150 employees were arrested on December 12-13 for their alleged role in the mob violence that led to shutting the plant since then.

The company has invested about Rs 2,000 crore in the Naraspura plant to roll out about 4 lakh iPhone 7 handsets per annum and second-generation iPhone SE devices.

Of about 10,000 workers, around 1,340 are permanent and 8,500 are on contract, hired by six firms.

All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) general secretary M.D. Harigovind told IANS earlier that the violence at Wistron was due to gross exploitation of workers and sweatshop conditions in the factory, where the world’s most expensive mobile phones are assembled.

“Though the workers were hired at a salary of Rs 16,000 per month for an 8-hour shift, they were short-changed and paid only Rs 12,000 but made to work for 4 more hours without overtime payment,” claimed Harigovind.