Monday, January 18, 2021

Riot-hit Wistron plant to resume production soon: Minister

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Wistron violence: 132 detained, ‘full protection’ to plant assuredBengaluru, Dec 27 (IANS) Riot-hit Apple’s iPhone maker Wistron Corporation plant in Karnataka’s Kolar district would resume production soon, said state Labour Minister Shivaram Hebbar on Sunday.

“Taiwan’s Wistron factory in Kolar’s Narasapura industrial area will be fully operation and ready to resume production in the next 20 days,” Hebbar told reporters in Kannada after visiting the plant that was damaged on December 12 when hundreds of its workers turned violent for delayed wages and longer shifts.

Hebbar met the company’s management and officials for a first-hand account of the violent incident in its plant and reasons behind the workers’ rampage.

“We will hold a meeting at the state secretariat in Bengaluru next week to assess the situation and ascertain the reasons that led to rioting in the plant,” said the Minister.

Noting that the state government had simplified the industrial policy to open new industries in the state with jobs for more locals, Hebbar said workers would be paid due wages in commensurate with their skills and experience.

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“We are committed to ensure full wages to workers and harmonious relations between them and companies across the state,” asserted the Minister.

Observing that the district administration was not aware of the number of workers employed by Wistron and how much they were being paid, the Minister said the riot would not have occurred had the company informed the district labour department about the problems they (workers) were facing.

The Taipei-based Wistron estimated Rs 54-crore loss due to the violence at its Narasapura plant, about 60km east of Bengaluru.

About 150 employees were arrested on December 12-13 for their alleged role in the mob violence that led to shutting the plant since then.

The company has invested about Rs 2,000 crore in the Naraspura plant to roll out about 4 lakh iPhone 7 handsets per annum and second-generation iPhone SE devices.

Of about 10,000 workers, around 1,340 are permanent and 8,500 are on contract, hired by six firms.

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All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) General Secretary M.D. Harigovind told IANS earlier that the violence at Wistron was due to gross exploitation of workers and sweatshop conditions in the factory, where the world’s most expensive mobile phones are assembled.

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“Though the workers were hired at a salary of Rs 16,000 per month for an 8-hour shift, they were short-changed and paid only Rs 12,000 but made to work for 4 more hours without overtime payment,” claimed Harigovind.

According to district labour officer Srikanth Patil, majority of the employees, including women are locals, with diploma or ITI certificate in electronics.

Patil said the simmering discontent over delay in payment of wages, extra hours without compensation, disputes over attendance records and stifling working conditions outraged the workers, forcing them to resort to violence due to pent-up anger against the management.

Source: IANS

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