Sunday, February 28, 2021

Indian iPhone factory workers run amok over unpaid wages

The violence broke out as about 2,000 workers from the night shift were leaving the building.

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Workers at an Apple iPhone factory who went on a destructive rampage on Saturday have been arrested, say Indian police.

Hundreds ransacked the offices of senior executives, destroying furniture and assembly units, and smashing windows and doors.

More than 100 were detained after storming through parts of the Taiwanese-run iPhone factory near Bangalore, the capital of southern Karnataka state and India’s technology hub.

Video on social media showed extensive damage to Wistron Infocomm’s manufacturing facility.

The company told AFP that “the incident was caused by people of unknown identities from outside who intruded into and damaged the facility with unclear intentions”.

The workers claim that they have not been fully paid for four months and are being forced to work extra shifts.

The violence broke out as about 2,000 workers from the night shift were leaving the building on Saturday, the Times of India reported.

Karnataka state’s deputy chief minister, CN Ashwathnarayan, condemned the “wanton” violence and said his government would ensure the situation was “resolved expeditiously”.

“We will ensure that all workers’ rights are duly protected and all their dues are cleared,” he tweeted.

One trade union leader told The Hindu newspaper that there was “brutal exploitation” at the plant. “The state government has allowed the company to flout basic rights,” said Satyanand, who uses only one name.

The factory employs about 15,000 workers, according to local media, with most contracted via recruitment firms.

Apple did not immediately respond to a BBC request for comment, but it has said in the past that it takes working conditions at supplier sites very seriously.

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