The Taiwanese manufacturer responsible for making Apple iPhones in India has estimated losses running to around Rs 437 crore after a protest by factory workers. The dispute started because of due payments of the workers that reportedly turned into vandalism of the manufacturing plant located in Kolar in the state of Karnataka, India.
Reports of arson, violence and looting surfaced on Saturday, December 12 at the manufacturing facility where factory employees allegedly ransacked the assembly lines, damaged office equipment and stole thousands of iPhones. Wistron has estimated that around 5,000 contract labourers and 2,000 unknown arsonists are behind the massive riot-like situation at the factory premises. The damages caused by the workers include Rs 10 crore worth of infrastructure, Rs 60 lakhs worth of cars and golf carts destruction along with missing smartphones and gadgets worth Rs 1.5 crores.
Taiwan-headquartered Wistron Corporation says it suffered losses worth Rs 437 crore in violence unleashed by a section of workers over salary issues at its plant in Kolar district in Karnataka— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) December 14, 2020
Wistron has filed a complaint with the police stating that office equipment, production lines, smartphones and more worth Rs 412.5 crores were stolen, missing or damaged as a result of the protests. The company makes iPhones for Apple and other products for technology companies. The police have detained over 150 people that were found to be associated with the act of vandalism at the manufacturing facility. These people are being held in judicial custody with FIRs being registered by the Kolar Police.
Karnataka: Violence erupts at the Wistron iPhone manufacturing unit in Kolar— ANI (@ANI) December 12, 2020
Visuals of vandalism from inside the plant pic.twitter.com/1MmtDtc2kH
While reports indicate that the protest was due to the unpaid dues of the factory workers, Labour Commissioner Akram Pasha has stated that there was a delay of four days in processing the salary and not months as claimed by the workers. “Only the police can investigate why this happened. We saw the data and there was only four days’ delay in salary distribution. Many claimed it was for several months, but it wasn't there in the report,” he said.
Apple has dispatched teams and auditors to Wistron’s Naraspura facility to assess the on-ground situation and launch a full-scale investigation into the events that transpired into the protests and act of vandalism.