Vandalism at Wistron plant, thousands of iPhones stolen by agitated workers

The workers were protesting against non-payment of wages and overtime

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Wistron’s iPhone-manufacturing plant in Kolar, Karnataka, witnessed violence on December 12, when more than a 1000 disgruntled workers, angry over non-payment of salary and overtime, vandalised the property, set vehicles ablaze and caused damage worth Rs 437 crore. Amidst the chaos, thousands of iPhones were stolen.

More than 130 agitators have been detained. The Karnataka government has assured the Taiwan-based company of needful action and a detailed investigation into the incident is on.

It was just a day before the violence that a Taiwanese delegation had met Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa to discuss plans of many companies that were interested to invest in Karnataka. However, this incident, which has gone viral on social media will definitely tarnish the image of the state, and of the country, and discourage foreign investors.

The employees have alleged that the Wistron management has been making the staff work overtime, for 12 hours without a break, as against the stipulated eight hours, which is in clear violation of the rules laid down by the Factories Act.

The police had to resort to lathi charge to disperse the agitated workers. Some employees claim that they have not received wages for months now. Apparently, some employees have revealed that around six subcontractors who hire factory workers for Wistron had promised the workers monthly wages of Rs 16,000. However, on joining, these workers were told they would be paid Rs 12,000 only.

The absence of a union is only making it more difficult for the workers to fight for their rights.

Wistron manufactures the iPhone for Apple, as well as various products for Lenovo and Microsoft.

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