Apple supplier Foxconn Technology Group on Monday said it has implemented a range of corrective actions and will start bringing back team members gradually to the Sriperumbudur factory, which was shut down last month following a mass food-poisoning incident at the plant’s offsite dormitory facility.
The factory located on the outskirts of Chennai in Tamil Nadu was shut down on December 18 after workers’ protests on the back of a mass-food poisoning incident at the offsite dormitory facility. “We have been working on a series of improvements to fix issues we found at the offsite dormitory facilities at Sriperumbudur and to enhance the services we provide to our employees. We have implemented a range of corrective actions to ensure this cannot happen again and a rigorous monitoring system to ensure workers can raise any concerns they may have, including anonymously,” Hon Hai Technology Group (Foxconn) said in a statement.
The company also said it will “gradually begin to welcome back team members as each offsite dormitory becomes ready and is approved”. According to sources, operations will be gradually resumed at the factory as hostels and dormitories get ready and certified as per local requirements by the government and Apple’s audits. An Apple spokesperson said the Sriperumbudur facility continues to be on probation and that the company is closely monitoring the situation.
“For the past several weeks teams from Apple, along with independent auditors, have been working with Foxconn to ensure a comprehensive set of corrective actions are implemented in the offsite accommodations and dining rooms at Sriperumbudur,” the spokesperson said. Workers will start to return gradually as soon as Apple is certain its standards are being met in every dormitory and dining area, the spokesperson emphasised.
Apple had put the Sriperumbudur factory of the iPhone assembler Foxconn on ‘probation’ following worker protests and an assessment that revealed substandard living conditions, saying it will ensure strict standards are met before the unit reopens. While the companies did not comment on the expected timelines for full resumption of operations, the sources said full resumption of operations at the plant will take more time and workers will only be brought back in a phased manner over the next few months.
The factory has more than 15,000 people working on production of Apple products. According to the sources, there has also been a management change at Foxconn India with a change of guard locally and introduction of new systems to better manage the factory and employee facilities. The commercial production of the newly-launched iPhone 13 series was reportedly expected to start at the Foxconn plant by February. It is unclear if Apple’s probation would affect these plans.