Workers at an iPhone factory in India run by a Taiwanese manufacturer vandalised it over claims that they were not been paid wages. This incident has prompted the iPhone maker Apple to start an investigation into it.
People were seen apparently smashing glass panels and tearing down CCTV cameras at the facility in video footage currently circulating on social media. The plant which is owned by Taiwan’s Wistron is located in the South Indian city of Bengaluru.
More than 120 people believed to be involved in the incident were arrested by police in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, said the state’s labor minister Shivaram Hebbar.
However there are murky details of the incident available still. According to reports in some Indian media, the people were “furious over delayed salaries.”
According to the estimates of Wistron, the incident had resulted in loss of as much as $7 million, said a statement made by the company to the Taiwan Stock Exchange on Tuesday. Wistron is one of the major suppliers of Apple and there are about 10,000 permanent and temporary workers at the India facility of the company.
“The company has cooperated with relevant authorities and the police in investigations and is continuing to negotiate with insurance companies,” the company said.
There has been no media statement about the incident issued by Wistron.
However, the company said that the incident “was caused by people of unknown identities from outside who intruded into and damaged its facility with unclear intentions” in a statement to Agence France-Presse. In order to resume operations as soon as possible the company also “pledged to follow local labor [laws] and other related regulations”, it said in that statement.
Apple has put “teams on the ground” and has initiated a probe at the factory and is also in the process of dispatching additional Apple employees and auditors, told the media.
“Apple is dedicated to ensuring everyone in our supply chain is treated with dignity and respect,” the company said. “Our teams are in close touch with the local authorities and we’re offering our full support to their investigation.”
The importance of India as a market has been growing constantly in recent years even though it has a log path to travel to really make a mark in the market. Just about 2 per cent of the Indian smartphone market is currently owned by Apple, said market research firm Canalys estimated earlier this year. One of the major reasons for this is that the price of most of the products of the company is beyond the affordability of the majority of Indians.
But in recent years, the company has ramped up manufacturing in India kin order to bring down prices. The company started to manufacture iPhones locally ion India in 2017 and has recently also began to manufacturing of its iPhone 11 in India as well.
Wistron had not paid the employees their wages for three months, said Hebbar, the local labor minister.
“They have a right to their salary and it is our responsibility to get them their salaries,” he said. “But now this violence has happened and so much loss has taken place.”
(Adapted from CNN.com)