Workers go on rampage at Wistron’s iPhone manufacturing facility

The iPhone manufacturing plant, run by Taiwan-based tech giant Wistron Corporation at Narsapura (around 60 km from Bengaluru in Karnataka) came under attack on Saturday from its employees over payment of salaries. A majority of the nearly 2,000 employees, who were exiting the facility after completing their night-shift, went on a rampage destroying the company’s furniture, assembly units and even attempted to set fire to vehicles.

Senior police officers along with additional personnel from Kolar district have rushed to the spot. The mobs were seen breaking glass panes and doors, turning cars topsy-turvy and attacking the offices of senior executives. Sources said that the incident was triggered by weeks of smouldering unrest over lack of payments. The issue has been festering for about 8 to 10 weeks, during which employees were subject to arbitrary changes to their work contracts. About 90 per cent of the 8,000-strong workforce are contractual workers with a promised salary of Rs 16,000 per month for an 8-hour work shift. But over the last few months many were being paid only Rs 12,000 and were also told to work for up to 12 hours a day, sources said.

M D Harigovind, General Secretary of the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) charged Wistron with exploitative practices. “The industrial violence in Wistron is a direct result of the brutal exploitation of workers and sweatshop-like conditions created by a company, manufacturing the most expensive mobile phones. The state government has allowed the company to flout the basic rights of the workers like payment of wages and working hours. In the absence of any regulation, anarchy has prevailed”, he said.