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Apple Launches Probe After Workers Go on Rampage at Winstron Plant in K’taka

Screenshot of an alleged clip showing violence at Wistron Corp's Narsapura factory, posted online by users on Twitter.

Screenshot of an alleged clip showing violence at Wistron Corp's Narsapura factory, posted online by users on Twitter.

Government sources said preliminary investigation shows that some wage payments had been delayed which may have led to the unrest. However, the company insisted it had met all its labour payment obligations to contractor companies.

Apple Inc, one of the world's most valued companies, announced on Monday that it has launched an investigation into the rioting and vandalism incident that shook one of its supplier factories in Narasapura in Kolar, around 70 km from Bengaluru. Apple, in a statement, said it is "dedicated to ensuring everyone in our supply chain is treated with dignity and respect”.

Stating that the company has sent teams to inquire into what is happening on-ground, it said: "We have teams on the ground and immediately launched a detailed investigation at Wistron's Narasapura facility in India. We are also dispatching additional appeal team members and auditors to the facility. Our teams are in close touch with the local authorities and we are offering our full support to their investigation."

The statement comes in the wake of large-scale protests at Wistron facility on Saturday morning, when more than 2,000 workers went on rampage, destroying machines and equipment, alleging that they were not being paid fair salaries or being paid on time.

The police were called in and it was only after lathi-charge that the situation was brought under control. The first information report filed by Wistron Infocomm Manufacturing Pvt Ltd says that an estimated loss of Rs 437 crore was incurred in damages by the workers who turned violent. However, company sources said this would be re-calculated as the loss was not that high.

Government sources said preliminary investigation shows that some wage payments had been delayed which may have led to the unrest. However, the company insisted it had met all its labour payment obligations to contractor companies.

"There is no denying that there are bound to be some hiccups when labour strength had gone up from 1,500 to 12,000 employees in three months. Our requirements were only to hire anyone who has a diploma in electronics, there were no restrictions. But there was no serious issue that could not be sorted out over a chat," said a source. There were many contractor companies that supplied the company's workforce.

Company officials claim they tried to lodge a police complaint on Friday evening when they sensed trouble, but the police did not accept any complaint.

Kolar SP Karthik Reddy told reporters on Monday that FIRs have been lodged against 149 people who have been arrested. More arrests are likely in the coming days.

"Cases are being taken up based on CCTV footage. There are about 25 people who were earlier detained but now discharged after proven innocent. There are more than 430 cameras in the factory. We are checking all that for evidence. Police were also attacked on the day of the incident and a separate case is being taken up on that," Reddy told the media.

first published:December 14, 2020, 18:18 IST