Arbitrarily deploying employees on 12-hour shifts is a violation: Minister
Over 10,000 people, through six staffing companies, are employed at Wistron plant on contract
The violent protest at the Wistron Infocomm Manufacturing (India) plant, which manufactures iPhones, at Narasapura near Kolar, has raised questions on labour issues, especially in the backdrop of the recent unrest at the Toyota Kirloskar Motor plants at Bidadi.
Contract workers at Wistron who ransacked the premises claimed that they had not been paid for three to four months and had shifts that were 12 hours long. They said they had yet to get paid for working overtime.
Labour Minister Shivaram Hebbar said no labour amendment in Karnataka allows employers to deploy their employees on a 12-hour shift at a stretch. “Working overtime is a personal decision. If an employee wants to work overtime and if he or she is paid extra for those hours, it is a choice the worker makes and certainly not the employer. Arbitrarily deploying employees in a 12-hour shift is a violation of the labour law,” he said.
He said if there was a violation from the employers’ side, the employees have all the right to reach out to the Labour Department. “We have not received any complaint as yet,” he said. If workers haven’t received their wages and overtime allowances, it was a matter of concern for the government and his department would look into the matter on priority, he added.
He, however, condemned the violence. “I understand employee sentiments, especially when not paid for months. But that does not give anyone the right to take the law into their own hands, resort to violence, and destroy properties. My government will not support such a destructive spirit.”
The department is currently in the process of understanding what went wrong at Wistron. Over 10,000 people, through six staffing companies, are employed at Wistron on contact. “We are an industrially forward State and we need more industries to come in to create more jobs for our people,” the Minister added.
The Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce (BCIC) via a press release said that the series of recent labour issues in Karnataka were ‘unfortunate’ especially at a time when the economy was rapidly reviving after the huge downfall owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Commenting on the incidents, R. Parasuraman, president, BCIC, said: “It’s disheartening to note that people are taking the law into their own hands. While the investment climate in Karnataka has been improving… these kinds of issues will dent the investor confidence and affect the employment opportunities. It is very important for all the stakeholders to seriously introspect from these incidents and take quick and appropriate countermeasures”
Toyota lockout will be lifted soon: Minister
Toyota Kirloskar Motors (TKM) will lift the lockout, introduced on November 10, in the next three or four days, said Mr. Hebbar. The Labour Department had five sessions of talks with Toyota and TKM Employee Union to pursue them to end the deadlock. In addition to this, Toyota management also met the Chief Minister recently, said the Minister.