Apple Investigates iPhone Facility Near Bengaluru After Violence By Workers

Apple says sending additional team to India to probe.

Apple investigates iPhone factory violence near Bengaluru.

Bengaluru:

Two days after violence broke out at a factory near Bengaluru that produces Apple's iPhone, the US firm has said it is probing if its Taiwanese contractor Wistron Corp, which owns the factory, broke supplier guidelines.

"Apple is dedicated to ensuring everyone in our supply chain is treated with dignity and respect. We have teams on the ground and immediately launched a detailed investigation at Wistron's Narasapura facility in India," Apple told NDTV.

"We are also dispatching additional Apple team members and auditors to the facility. Our teams are in close touch with the local authorities and we're offering our full support to their investigation," Apple said.

Violence erupted on Saturday at Wistron's plant at Narsapura, near Bengaluru, after some employees, reportedly angry over salaries, vandalised the facility's premises.

According to a case filed by Wistron, the facility, located around 50 kilometres east of Bengaluru, in Kolar district, suffered Rs 412.5 crore in damages, PTI reported. This included mobile phones, machinery, and equipment lost in the violence. Infrastructure of Rs 10 crore, cars and golf carts worth Rs 60 lakh, and smartphones and other gadgets worth Rs 1.5 crore, too, were damaged, stolen, or lost, the PTI report said.

Around 100 persons have been detained in this connection, Reuters reported. 

Wistron is one of Apple's top global suppliers. In India, it makes iPhone 7 and the second generation iPhone SE devices. Over 10,000 workers are employed at the factory, located inside the Narsapura Industrial Area, who work in shifts of 3,000 to 3,500 each.

In a statement, the company said it was "deeply shocked by the incident".

"The accident was caused by unknown persons bursting in and causing damage to the plant with unclear intentions. The company always abides by the law, and fully supports and is cooperating with relevant authorities and police investigations," the statement informed Taipei Stock Exchange.

In another statement to AFP in Chinese, Wistron "pledged to follow local labour (laws) and other related regulations" to resume operations as soon as possible.

Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Dr Ashwath Narayan said that those who took "law into their own hand" shall be "dealt with very strongly".

"At the same time, whatever justice has to prevail to the employees also will be taken care. The concern of both the employer and the employees will be effectively addressed," Mr Narayan told NDTV.

The police have said that they arrived at the location in Kolar within an hour of receiving a call about the disturbance. They said a discussion with a group of workers over their pay had spiralled out of control and resulted in violence.

"We have technical evidence, CCTV footage, photographs, and evidence from other staff members...If there is a problem, they (workers) should approach the labour wing or the HR department. Violence is wrong," Seemant Kumar Singh, Central Range Inspector General, told NDTV after visiting the Narsapura plant.

Speaking about the damage such incidents could do to investment and employment generation in the district, Kolar MP S Muniswamy said that the fight on Saturday was between regular employees and contract workers.

"This kind of thing should not happen in Kolar district," he said. "There should be no more protests in front of factories. The state labour department will deal with the issues."