“Labor Violations” from Apple Supplier Wistron: 12-hour shift, no overtime

An employment agency’s preliminary investigation into violence at a factory owned by Apple supplier Wistron last weekend revealed multiple violations by the Taiwanese company and its suppliers, according to the report verified by Reuters.

Disgruntled workers complaining about months of non-payment of wages smashed devices and iPhone models at the Wistron plant, about 50 km away, on SaturdaytechnologyHub from Bengaluru, which cost the company millions of dollars in damage and forced it to close the site.

An inspection of the factory hours after the rampage revealed “several violations of labor law,” said the labor department in the Kolar district of Karnataka state in its report.

Wistron, one of Apple’s leading global contract manufacturers, did not respond to a request for comment on the report, which went unpublished.

Apple, which is conducting its own review to determine if Wistron is violating supplier guidelines, also didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The labor office said Wistron had failed to maintain proper employment and appointment details of its workers and employees who worked 12-hour shifts at the Kolar factory were not paid for overtime.

The company did not keep its statutory payroll and attendance sheets and contract employees were unhappy with the failure to pay wages for additional hours of work, the office said, adding that Wistron did not provide these records upon request.

The report also identified three of Wistron’s recruitment agencies, Creative Engineers, Quess and Addeco India, who had exceeded recruitment rates permitted by state regulations.

Quess and Addeco did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and Creative Engineers could not be reached.

The inspection also found that a bug in an attendance machine or software had led to complaints from workers that they were not owed full wages.

“This has been brought to management’s attention and has not been addressed,” the office said.

The investigation, although initial, confirmed the complaints from workers at the plant, half a dozen of whom were interviewed by Reuters.

The auditors asked Wistron to submit some documents to the employment office within three days. It was not clear whether Wistron complied.

The Karnataka state government said this week it would help Wistron resume operations and address workers’ concerns.

Nor did she comment on the results of the report.

However, unions have criticized the state for treating the company “gently” and for not empathizing with employees who work under “sweatshop-like conditions”.

The result is a blow to Wistron’s local production spurt and undermines Apple’s reputation in a key growth market.

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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