The All India Central Council of Trade Unions on Thursday criticised the Karnataka government for failing to address the concerns of the workers at iPhone maker Wistron’s facility near Bengaluru, where protests against the non-payment of salaries last week led to violence, Reuters reported. The union said that government was “turning a blind eye” to violations at the facility.
The trade union’s National Secretary Clifton D’Rozario said that officials raised no questions about the workers not being paid properly for four months. He added that the government only cared about foreign investments. “The state government is going extremely soft on the company and turning a blind eye to all the violations at the facility,” D’Rozario was quoted as saying by the news agency.
He added: “They are generating employment that is not paying people. What purpose does such employment serve?”
Nearly six contract workers at the facility told Reuters that they were paid less than a third of the monthly salary that they were promised. “They promised to give overtime to workers but this didn’t happen for at least three months,” one worker alleged.
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The police have arrested or detained hundreds of workers for the violence, according to Reuters. On Wednesday, a Students’ Federation of India office-bearer was also arrested, according to India Today.
Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Thursday said that his government had taken action against those responsible for the violence. “It [Wistron] is a very important foreign company and this should not have happened,” he had said. “The PM [Prime Minister Narendra Modi] is also very much worried about this development.”
On December 12, workers at Wistron Infocomm Manufacturing India Pvt Limited’s plant in Karnataka’s Kolar district vandalised the facility over non-payment of promised wages. The protestors stole iPhones made at the plant, burnt vehicles and damaged property. The loss was estimated to be approximately Rs 437 crore, according to a police complaint by Wistron. Operations were suspended at the plant, located about 60 kilometres from Bengaluru.
Wistron, a Taiwanese contractor, is Apple’s top supplier in the world, and makes iPhone 7 and the second generation iPhone SE devices in the country. Following the violence, Apple Inc said it was investigating if its contractor had flouted supplier guidelines.