Wistron may resume operations in three weeks: Labour Minister


Wistron, the Taiwanese firm that makes iPhone-7 and iPhone SE for Apple at Narasapura in Karnataka’s Kolar district is currently in the process of conducting background checks and police verification on its 8,500 temporary workers as a precursor to its reopening, likely in three weeks.

It may be recalled that a little over a month ago, thousands of contract workers employed by Wistron through six third-party providers had resorted to violence and vandalism and brought the company’s operations to a standstill after it failed to honour their salaries and overtime allowances for several months.

“After the initial harassment that led to untoward incidents, the company is now treating us like criminals. We are asked to produce police verification documents, a consent letter from our families and also a certification from a gazetted officer. We were not asked for all these documents at the time of our joining,” said an employee.

As per another employee at Wistron, only permanent workers are currently attending work while all contract workers are asked to stay away until the background checks are completed. “The company, globally, has acknowledged its mistake, still, we don’t see any empathy from the management or from the State government,” he added.

State Labour Minister Shivaram Hebbar told The Hindu that, “It is certain that the company is involved in multiple labour law violations, but the government’s current priority is to get it restarted as early as possible so that thousands of jobs are reinstated. All other course corrections and disciplining can happen after that.”

According to the Minister, the Wistron management may be able to complete the repair work and restart operations within three weeks. A Wistron official who refused to be identified, said, “We are rebuilding and it is taking time as the damage has been quite much.”

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Emphasising the labour law violations committed by Wistron, M. Satyanand, Secretary, All India Trade Union Congress-Bengaluru, said, as per rule any work that is permanent in nature should be given to permanent workers. However, all temporary workers at Wistron were deployed on core functions i.e.: assembling iPhones and related works, he alleged. “Most production jobs are permanent in nature, bringing such jobs under contract is a blatant violation, all over the world. I’ve checked labour contract licenses issued to all these six contractors and found that Wistron has flouted the rule and that needs to be corrected even before they restart the operations,” insisted Mr. Satyanand.

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Sagar Biswas

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