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Apple supplier Wistron says looking to re-start violence-hit Bangalore plant

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Wistron Corp, a Taiwanese contract manufacturer for Apple, in Narsapura near the southern city of Bengaluru, India

Apple Inc contract manufacturer Wistron said on Tuesday it was looking to restart operations at its factory in southern India which was shut late last year after workers went on a rampage at the site.

Wistron was working hard to raise standards and fix issues at the plant in Karnataka's Kolar district, the Taiwanese company said in a statement.

"We are looking forward to restarting our operations and welcoming back team members and we thank them for their patience and support as we worked through corrective actions," Wistron said.

Earlier on December 27, 2020, Karnataka state Labour Minister Shivaram Hebbar had said that riot-hit Apple's iPhone maker Wistron Corporation plant i would resume production soon

The Taipei-based Wistron estimated Rs 54-crore loss due to the violence at its Narasapura plant, about 60km east of Bengaluru.

About 150 employees were arrested on December 12-13 last year for their alleged role in the mob violence that led to shutting the plant since then.

The company has invested about Rs 2,000 crore in the Naraspura plant to roll out about 4 lakh iPhone 7 handsets per annum and second-generation iPhone SE devices.

Of about 10,000 workers, around 1,340 are permanent and 8,500 are on contract, hired by six firms.

All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) General Secretary M.D. Harigovind told media later that the violence at Wistron was due to gross exploitation of workers and sweatshop conditions in the factory, where the world's most expensive mobile phones are assembled.

"Though the workers were hired at a salary of Rs 16,000 per month for an 8-hour shift, they were short-changed and paid only Rs 12,000 but made to work for 4 more hours without overtime payment," claimed Harigovind.

According to district labour officer Srikanth Patil, majority of the employees, including women are locals, with diploma or ITI certificate in electronics.

Patil said the simmering discontent over delay in payment of wages, extra hours without compensation, disputes over attendance records and stifling working conditions outraged the workers, forcing them to resort to violence due to pent-up anger against the management.

(With input from agencies)

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