Apple puts iPhone manufacturer on probation following labor violations

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iPhone sales are showing signs of life in India
Wistron was the first iPhone manufacturer to start building handsets in India.
Photo: Apple

Apple has temporarily stopped working with Wistron, the iPhone supplier that this month had riots break out at its Indian factory due to alleged mistreatment of employees.

In a statement, Apple said that it has put the manufacturer on probation. It will not receive new Apple business until it has carried out corrective actions.

“We have placed Wistron on probation and they will not receive any new business from Apple before they complete corrective action,” Apple said. “Apple employees, along with independent auditors, will monitor their progress. Our main objective is to make sure all the workers are treated with dignity and respect, and fully compensated promptly,” it added.

Wistron has manufacturing lines that produce Apple products in both China and India. It is one of the biggest iPhone assemblers worldwide, alongside the likes of Foxconn and Pegatron.

An Indian government report said that Wistron had underpaid wages, had poor factory conditions, and broke other labor laws. The plant riot resulted in $7 million of damage, with thousands of iPhones stolen. Police arrested around 150 workers. They are reportedly investigating another 5,000 people as a result of the incident.

“While these investigations are ongoing, our preliminary findings indicate violations of our Supplier Code of Conduct by failing to implement proper working hour management processes,” Apple said. “This led to payment delays for some workers in October and November.”

Wistron has already started making changes. Among these is the removal of vice president Vincent Lee, who oversaw Wistron business in India. The company has admitted to payment delays. Employees will be compensated immediately for outstanding wages.

Not the first suspended Apple manufacturer

This isn’t the first time Apple has put one of its major manufacturers on probation recently. In early November, Apple gave Pegatron similar treatment after discovering the company had made unauthorized use of students carrying out overtime and night shifts. Pegatron employees reportedly went “to extraordinary lengths” to cover up the wrongdoing.

Source: Business Standard