Apple has placed Wistron Corp on probation following lapses in wages to employees at its Karnataka plant. The iPhone maker, in an official statement, said Wistron will not receive any business until corrective steps have been taken.
The notice comes a week after hundreds of workers went on a rampage and vandalized the factory located at the Narsapura industrial area in Kolar district on December 12. The disgruntled workers accused the company of arbitary deductions in salaries even after introducing 12-hour work shifts in place of three eight-hour shifts.
Apple said its employees, along with independent auditors, will monitor their progress. “Our main objective is to make sure all the workers are treated with dignity and respect, and fully compensated promptly,” it said. “While these investigations are ongoing, our preliminary findings indicate violations of our supplier code of conduct by failing to implement proper working hour management processes. This led to payment delays for some workers in October and November.”
According to a Reuters report, a government inspection revealed the Apple supplier could not cope with the rapid scaling up of manpower and breached several laws. Manpower at this plant, which was recently set up, rose to 10,500 workers from the permitted 5,000 in a short span of time.
Wistron, in a separate statement, said it has sacked Vincent Lee, the vice-president, who oversaw its Indian operations. Admitting lapses in proper payment to its employees, the company said the entire Indian team has been restructured to ensure such issues do not recur. “This is a new facility and we recognize that we made mistakes as we expanded,” it highlighted. “Some of the processes we put in place to manage labor agencies and payments need to be strengthened and upgraded.”
Regretting the plight of its workers, Wistron has established a 24-hour grievance hotline in Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, English and Hindi for the workers to voice their concerns anonymously. “We are working diligently on corrective actions to ensure this does not happen again.”