Riots broke out over the weekend at a Wistron factory in southern India that produces iPhones, resulting in around 100 people being arrested. Thousands of iPhones were stolen during the incident.
The riots were reportedly related to allegations about unpaid wages and other exploitation. Workers were allegedly not paid for several months, and made to do mandatory overtime. Protestors broke windows at the factory on the outskirts of Bangalore, pulled down CCTV cameras, and flipped cars onto their sides.
“The situation is under control now. We have formed special teams to investigate the incident,” local police told the Associated Free Press (AFP) on Sunday. Police said that no-one was injured in the rioting.
1/4 #Violence at @Apple #iPhone production plant run by Taiwan-based #Wistron Corp at Narasapura near #Bengaluru in India
Nearly 2,000 employees, alleged not been paid, went on a rampage destroying the company’s furniture, assembly units and even attempted to set fire to vehicles pic.twitter.com/qtlHyJiRAh
— Crisbin Joseph Mathew (@CrisbinJoseph) December 12, 2020
Wistron, which is based in Taiwan, told AFP that the situation was, “caused by people of unknown identities from outside who intruded into and damaged its facility with unclear” intentions. It continued that it “pledged to follow local labour” laws, and that normal operations would be resumed as rapidly as possible.
Apple said Monday that it is investigating whether Wistron has flouted Apple’s supplier guidelines.
The AFP report says that labor unrest is relatively common in India. This is due to the low pay and lack of social security benefits.
Made in India iPhones
Apple started producing iPhones in India in 2017. It began with the iPhone SE, then expanded to the iPhone 6s, and beyond. Wistron was one of the first manufacturers Apple started working in India. Since then, however, others have joined — like Foxconn and Pegatron. Apple started selling its Indian iPhones in the local market under the “Made in India” tagline. It is part of Apple’s quest to expand its supply chain outside China.
The Wistron factory where the riot broke out employs around 15,000 workers.