Employee Violence at Apple iPhone Plant in India Results in $7.11 Million Loss For Wistron

Apples iPhone maker Wistron Corporation has estimated the damage from violence at its Bengaluru plant on the last weekend to be around $7.11 million.

"Unlike earlier reports stated, the violence did not cause any material damage to major manufacturing equipment and warehouses, with preliminary estimates of damages to be up to new Taiwan dollar (NTD) 100-200 million ($7.11 million)," said Wistron in a regulatory filing on the Taiwan Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

Noting that the company was assessing the damage in the facility, the filing said its India subsidiary was co-working with the government authorities and police officials on the investigation into the incident on December 12.

"We are assessing the extent of the damages in various areas of the facility," added the filing.

Wistron Infocomm Manufacturing (India) Ltd chief executive T.D. Prashant in a complaint to the local police on Sunday said that expensive office equipment, mobile phones and assembly equipment were destroyed when a section of the employees went on a rampage for alleged delay in payments and deductions in their salary.

The local police arrested about 150 employees of Wistron for the alleged violent incident.

A man looks at the screen of his mobile phone in front of an Apple logo outside its store in Shanghai, China on July 30, 2017.

Wistron is one of the third-party makers of iconic iPhone for Apple and assembles select models in India. It also has an assembling plant in Bengaluru north, rolling out the iPhone SE model since 2017.

"About 5,000 contract labourers and 2,000 unidentified people vandalised the factory," Prashant alleged in his complaint.

The company has invested about Rs 2,000 crore in the plant to roll out about 4 lakh iPhone 7 handsets per annum along with the 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.

'Exploitation of Workers'

All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) General Secretary M.D. Harigovind told IANS on Monday 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 four more hours without overtime payment," claimed Harigovind.

According to district labour officer Srikanth Patil, majority of the employees, including women, are locals, with diploma or ITI certificate in electronics.

Patil said the simmering discontent over delay in payment of wages, extra working hours without compensation, disputes over attendance records and stifling working conditions outraged the workers, forcing them to resort to violence due to pent-up anger against the management.

Meanwhile, city-based staffing firm TeamLease Services Ltd clarified that it was not working in any form with Wistron.