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India’s Wistron plant protests resulted in looting of thousands of iPhones


In India, Apple contracts Wistron, a Taiwanese manufacturer with a plant located in Kolar, India, to assemble iPhones to sell in the region and surrounding areas. Protests broke out over the weekend because salaries being held from factory workers. It’s alleged that the protests broke into riots and resulted in thousands of iPhones being looted from the factory.

As reported by The Times of India, Wistron estimates that the overall damage runs up to about Rs 437-crore (over $59 million). This includes damages to the factory assembly line, factory property, and thousands of stolen iPhones. The violence is reported to have lasted two hours, during which time the damage took place this Saturday.

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State Labor Minister Shrvram Hebbar says that Wistron contracted six companies to hire around 8,900 employees at the Kolar plant. These contractors were paid by the company for their laborers, but Wistron has had conflict with the contract laborers for as long as three months, according to the government. The Labor Minister condemned the violence, calling the company’s losses ‘unacceptable’.

Industries minister Jagadish Shettar attributed the violence to miscommunications between the three parties: Wistron, the labor contractors, and the employees. “What we hear is that the company had made payments to the labour contractors, who delayed payments to the employees. This is being verified.”

The labor department has issued notices to Wistron, stating that the company had three days to pay the employees, whether its from Wistron or the labor contractors. Kolar police are investigating whether the violence was planned as intentional acts to destroy property.

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