Apple halts business with supplier Wistron over Indian plant debacle

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Wistron Plant
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iPhone maker Apple has put a hold on its business deals with supplier Wistron after an audit conducted in the aftermath of worker unrest at its unit in southern Indian state Karnataka showed a violation of the supplier code of conduct.

Earlier this week, Wistron’s plant in India’s own Silicon Valley, Bangalore was a stage for massive worker protests leading to the destruction of the plant and theft of iPhones in stock. Taiwanese contract manufacturer claimed substantial losses forcing it to shut the plant.

Initial findings conducted by the regional labor regulation body hinted at violations of several labor rules ranging from undisclosed over time and a great variation in the official number of employees permitted to work.

Apple’s own investigation found that Wistron had failed to implement proper working hour management processes, which “led to payment delays for some workers in October and November”. The tech giant said that it will monitor Wistron’s progress on corrective action and then decide on resuming its ties with it.

Replying about the incident, Wistron acknowledged that few workers at the plant were not paid properly or on time. The firm has subsequently removed a top executive overseeing its India operations.

Responding on the matter, Apple reiterated its stand stating that “our main objective is to make sure all the workers are treated with dignity and respect, and fully compensated promptly,” while adding that it continued to investigate issues at the plant which manufacturers one of the iPhone models for the firm.

In its statement, Wistron observed that “This is a new facility and we recognize that we made mistakes as we expanded. Some of the processes we put in place to manage labor agencies and payments need to be strengthened and upgraded.”