Apple supplier Wistron could not control Indian scale plants, government report says

BENGALURU / NEW DELHI: Apple supplier Apple’s Wistron Indian factory in Karnataka state was unable to deal with rapid scaling of manpower and violated several laws, a government investigation has emerged following violence at the site last weekend.

Several thousand Wistron contract workers angered allegations of non-payment of wages that destroyed buildings, factory gear and iPhones at the plant in early Dec. 12, causing millions of dollars in losses for Taiwanese contract maker and forcing the plant to close.

The staffing of this plant, which collects one iPhone model and became available earlier this year, rose to 10,500 employees out of the 5,000 allowed in a short time, according to a report from department Karnataka factories, a copy of which was reviewed by Reuters.

“While the factory employs 10,500 workers the HR department has not been sufficiently established by staff with good knowledge of labor laws,” said the report of the December 13 survey.

The report said there is a wide gap between practices followed at the factory and legal requirements.

Wistron did not respond to a request for comment.

Apple, which is doing its own inspection at the factory, also did not comment.

Wistron introduced 12-hour shifts from the plant’s eight-hour shifts earlier in October but failed to properly address “the turmoil in the minds of workers” over the new wage. involve additional time, the report noted.

The company also did not notify the factory department of the new work moves, he said.

Wistron, which changed its server system in October, did not set a benchmark for two months that led to incorrectly recorded staff attendance, the probe found.

Some of the other breaches highlighted in the report included underpayment of wages to contract workers and housekeepers, and forcing female workers to take on additional work without legal permission.

An earlier government inspection of the factory, just hours after the rampage, had also found “several violations of labor law,” Reuters previously reported.

The state of Karnataka, which is home to India’s display software services division and global companies such as Bosh and Volvo, has tried to harass investors by criticizing the violence and convincing Wistron for its support. .

“The company has started an internal audit, which should help improve systems,” said Gaurav Gupta, chief government official at the Karnataka Department of Industries.

“We expect it to bring up solutions to improve relationships with employees and the way forward for work soon. “

(Reporting by Chandini Monnappa in Bengaluru and Sankalp Phartiyal in New Delhi; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)