Workers at Wistron’s iPhone manufacturing plant in Kolar, Karnataka, had recently vandalised their employer’s property and reportedly stolen thousands of iPhones, set vehicles ablaze and caused damage worth Rs 437 crore. After an initial enquiry into the incident, the Labour Department of the state has found the workers’ allegations to be true. The workers had resorted to vandalism because they were angry at being made to work overtime without extra pay. Also, due to some snag in the software, two days’ wages had been cut from their monthly salary for two months.
The plant has apparently been running 12-hour shifts and six-day work weeks. Workers complain of lack of adequate number of breaks too. The remuneration of these contract workers was far below what was promised by the contractors who hired them. The workers had been promised wages of Rs 300 a day if they worked without breaks. Extra pay was promised if they managed to work during festivals, which was not paid either.
Of the 9,800 workers who were recruited through the third parties or contractors, only 1,343 are permanent, while about 8,490 have been hired on contract by Randstad, Quess Corp, Needs Manpower Support Service, Adecco Group, Creative Engineers and Innovsource. On the face of it, it looks like the contractors are at fault, as the workers claim they were promised Rs 16,000 a month by the contractors, but received only Rs 12,000, but only further investigations can help prove this.
The issue with the software which was responsible for two days’ pay cut was already being looked into by the Company. However, the inquiries have revealed that only a month’s arrears were paid and the arrears for one more month are pending.
The Labour Department has asked workers to produce all proof of attendance and salary payment to help determine the dues. Necessary legal action will be taken against the Company for violating rules.