Apple supplier Wistron says it plans to restart operations at its iPhone manufacturing location in India, which was hit by widespread damage by employees protesting over unpaid wages. The Taiwanese company says it is working hard to raise standards and fix issues at its plant in Karnataka’s Kolar district.
“We are looking forward to restarting our operations and welcoming back team members and we thank them for their patience and support as we worked through corrective actions,” Wistron said in a statement given to Reuters.
Regarding the restarting of operations at the Wistron plant, Apple has released the following statement (via Reuters):
“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 their Narasapura facility,” Apple said in a statement.
“Wistron remains on probation and we will monitor their progress closely.”
Workers at the iPhone assembly plant rioted in December, causing widespread damage to the Wistron-run factory. Workers were reportedly upset over unpaid wages and working conditions.
Many of the 2,000 employees leaving at the end of their Friday-night shift were involved in the violence. Video was posted on social media showing smashed glass panels, broken lights, and overturned vehicles at the Bangalore Wistron plant.
Workers claimed they had not received their full pay for over four months and were being forced to work extra shifts. One worker alleged an engineering graduate was promised Rs 21,000 ($285) per month, but instead they initially got Rs 16,000 ($217), which had been reduced down to Rs 12,000 ($163) in the last three months. Non-engineering graduates’ monthly salary was said to have been reduced to Rs 8,000 ($108).
Following the worker unrest, Apple put Wistron on probation while it conducted an audit. The audit showed there had been violations of the company’s “Supplier Code of Conduct.”
Apple says Wistron failed to implement proper working hour management processes which “led to payment delays for some workers in October and November.”
Plans were in place to hire up to 20,000 more workers at the plant to manufacture additional iPhone SE devices, but that plan was placed on the back burner, with Apple saying it would not be awarding any additional business to Wistron until the assembly partner addressed the treatment of its workers.