Karnataka: iPhone plant in Kolar set on fire by employees over unpaid salary dues

There has been a continuous reduction in salary and an increase in working hours since the beginning of the lockdown for both engineering and non-engineering employees. 

Wistron

Employees of India’s first iPhone manufacturing unit “Winston Corp” in Kolar have set a portion of it on fire on December 12th early morning. They were protesting over unpaid dues.

Thousands of workers who were angry with companies’ reluctance to address the issue set a part of the company on fire. They were protesting for many days but the company had not heard any of their demands. Some cars and windows were also broken in the skirmish.

Taiwan based ‘Wistron Corp’ is India’s first iPhone manufacturing plant situated in the Kolar Industrial area of Narasapur, 60 Kilometres from Bangalore.

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During the lockdown, the company had advertised that it is investing close to Rs 3,000 crore in phases on the new plant spread over 43 acres and will recruit ITI and Diploma holders in electricals and electronics disciplines to handle soft electronics components.

Workers grievances

The employees allege that Wistron has announced that it will employ about 15 thousand people. But the company has given higher and permanent positions to people from other states, giving only 12,000 salaried fourth-class contract jobs to locals.

There has been a continuous reduction in salary and an increase in working hours since the beginning of the lockdown for both engineering and non-engineering employees.

The employees have worked for 4 months without pay and worked from 8 hours to 12 hours. They have been protesting at the site for many days but the management hasn’t responded.

The Narasapur police arriving after learning about the incident and lathi-charged the crowd that had gathered near company premises. Speaking to our correspondent, PSI Keshav Gowda of Narasapur police station said that about 100 people have been arrested and investigations are underway.

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Locals report that though the incident happened at 5 AM in the morning by the employees returning from night shift, police arrived at 7 AM and lathi-charged the crowd nearby. Workers by that time had slipped away and police randomly arrested innocent civilian bystanders on the road along with workers. This has made the situation tense in the region.

District Collector Satyabhama and Superintendent of Police Karthik Reddy visited the site.

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