Technology giant Apple on Tuesday said third-party iPhone manufacturer Wistron is hiring workers to restart the Narasapura plant near Bengaluru, which shut two months ago after violent protests. Apple said everyone at the facility would undergo a new training programme to ensure they understand their rights and how they can raise any concerns.
Taiwanese conglomerate Wistron, however, will remain on probation and Apple will monitor its progress closely, said the Cupertino-based company in a statement. “For the past eight weeks, teams across Apple, along with independent auditors, have been working with Wistron to make sure the necessary systems and processes are in place at the Narasapura facility,” it added. Wistron is one of the largest suppliers of iPhones in the world and manufactures iPhone 7 and the new iPhone SE models in India.
In early December last year, thousands of people, including employees, ransacked the Wistron campus in Kolar district on lapses in payments of wages. There were allegations of looting of several thousand iPhones, laptops, and television sets on the premises during the incident. In total, the arson and violence had cost around Rs 50 crore to the firm.
Wistron had later sacked its vice-president Vincent Lee who oversaw the business in India as it admitted to lapses in payments at the facility. Apple had then said that it would not provide new business contracts to Wistron globally until the Taiwanese firm completes all corrective actions at the facility.
According to Wistron, all employees have been fully paid and it has implemented new hiring and payroll systems. “We are looking forward to restarting our operations and welcoming back team members and we thank them for their patience and support,” said David Shen, chief executive officer, Wistron Smart Devices. Apple said its employees and independent auditors will remain on site to validate that the new processes are effective.
Karnataka Labour Minister A Shivaram Hebbar said company officials were willing to start their operations from February 15. “There may be delay of a day or two in resuming their operations but they are serious about it,” Hebbar said. He assured the company that the Karnataka government was ready to extend all cooperation to ensure that the manufacturing facility starts.
“It is not just Wistron but our support is to everyone who is willing to set up an industry in Karnataka,” he added.
With inputs from PTI