India’s iPhone factory reopens after last year’s riots

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Apple supplier is increasing its ability to build masses of iPhones in India
Riots broke out at the factory in December.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple contract manufacturer Wistron has reopened the iPhone factory in Karnataka, southern India. The factory was temporarily closed late last year after riots broke out over unpaid wages.

According to the Economic Times, it is currently operating with a reduced workforce of around 6,000 people. This is around half the number that it had late last year. Wistron will reportedly gradually scale back up the numbers.

The report continues:

“Karnataka industries minister Jagadish Shettar, who visited the facility on Wednesday along with additional chief secretary (industries) Gaurav Gupta and industries commissioner Gunjan Krishna, interacted with workers and asked them to reach out to authorities if they have any issues.

Violence at the workplace affects the livelihood of thousands of employees, Shettar said. Some workers told the minister that thousands of them had to face problems due to the act of a small group of workers.”

Riots at the Wistron factory

The riots broke out at the factory in mid-December 2020. Protestors broke windows at the factory, pulled down CCTV cameras, and flipped cars onto their sides. Police arrested around 100 people. Protestors stole thousands of iPhones during the incident.

Apple carried out an investigation, and ultimately place Wistron on probation. This meant that Wistron was able to continue working on current Apple contracts. But it cannot win more until Apple is satisfied changes have been made.

To avoid anything similar happening with more riots, Wistron has put safeguards in place. The Indian government will also perform its own monitoring.

Apple has gradually been ramping up manufacturing in India over the past several years. This is part of Apple’s efforts to reduce its reliance on China. This week, Apple began manufacturing the iPhone 12 in the country. Apple’s contract manufacturer in that instance is Foxconn. Wistron was the first company to start building the iPhone in India, starting in 2017.

Source: Economic Times