A preliminary investigation on last week’s violence at Apple-Wistron’s Karnataka plant has found several labour law violations by the firm.
violence and vandalism last week had been violating several labour laws, a preliminary investigation by the state’s labour department has found.
The investigation conducted by the Department of Factories, Boilers, Industrial Safety and Health has found that the Taiwanese firm and Apples vendors were violating several laws. The report outlines Wistron had failed to hire professionals with sound knowledge of India’s labour laws in its human resources (HR) department.
Last week, angry workers complaining about the non-payment of wages for months smashed equipment and iPhones at the Wistron plant, about 50 km from Bengaluru, costing the company millions of dollars in damage and forcing it to shut the site.
Here are the investigation’s top findings:
1) Though 10,500 workers are employed in the factory, the HR department has not been adequately set up with personnel of sound knowledge of labour laws.
2) The repercussions of changing the working hours from 8 to 12 hours has not been assessed.
3) The confusion in the minds of workers about their wage inclusive of overtime on account of the change in work pattern from 8hour shift to 12 hours has not been addressed properly by the HR personnel in line with the legal provisions.
4) Overtime hours and wages thereof in respect of 12-hour shift has not been clearly explained to the workers.
5) Fault in the attendance system to correctly capture attendance of workers has not been addressed though it has continued for the past two months.
6) Salary of workers has to be disbursed on or before the 10th day from the last day of the wage period (i.e. first day of every month). But it was wrongly stated by the HR personnel as payable on or before 10th of every month.
7) The practices in place with regard to payment of wages and overtime work are not in line with the provisions of law.
8) There is a wide gap between the practices in the factory and the statutory stipulations under the law pertaining to the period of work.
Meanwhile, Apple is conducting its own audit to find whether Wistron violated supplier guidelines. It has also put Wistron on probation for now and has appointed independent auditors who along with the Apple employees are investing the matter.
“We have placed Wistron on probation and they will not receive any new business from Apple before they complete corrective actions. 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,” Apple said in a statement.
The labour department’s investigation, though initial, confirms the grievances of workers at the Apple plant.
The Karnataka state government said this week it would help Wistron re-start operations and address workers’ concerns.
Trade unions though have criticized the state for “going soft” on the company and failing to empathize with staff who worked in “sweatshop-like conditions”.
The episode is a blow to Wistron’s local manufacturing push and dents Apple’s reputation in a key growth market