Apple Inc on Saturday said that it has placed its supplier Wistron "on probation" following the lapses in labour practices which led to rioting at the Taiwanese company's plant in Narasapura in Karnataka on December 12.
Apple Inc also apologised to the workers and said that it will not award the Taiwanese manufacturer any new business until it takes complete corrective actions and ensured all employees at its plant were treated with dignity and respect.
"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 Inc said in a statement.
Apple Inc further said that it is investigating the issues which occurred at Wistron's Narasapura facility and its preliminary findings have indicated violations of the Supplier Code of Conduct.
"Apple employees and independent auditors hired by Apple have been working around the clock to investigate the issues which occurred at Wistron's Narasapura facility. 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. This led to payment delays for some workers in October and November," Apple Inc said.
"As always, our focus is on making sure everyone in our supply chain is protected and treated with dignity and respect. We are very disappointed and taking immediate steps to address these issues. Wistron has taken disciplinary action and is restructuring their recruitment and payroll teams in Narasapura. They have also set up an employee assistance program and a 24-hour grievance hotline in Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Hindi, and English to ensure all workers at the facility can voice any concerns, anonymously," it added.
Besides, a week after the violence erupted in the factory, Wistron on Saturday said that it has fired its Vice President who was heading India operations. "We are removing the Vice President who oversees our business in India. We are also enhancing our processes and restructuring our teams to ensure these issues cannot happen again,"Wistron said in a statement.
"We deeply regret this and apologise to all of our workers. This is a new facility and we recognise that we made mistakes as we expanded. Our top priority is to ensure all workers are fully compensated immediately and we are working hard to achieve that," Wistron added.
What happened on December 12?
The workers of Wistron went on a rampage December 12 in the Narasapura facility over issues related to their salary, police said. They overturned cars and damaged furniture. They even pelted stones, smashed glass windows, damaged vehicles, furniture, computers and laptops. Wistron said that the damage in its factory amounted to between Rs 26 crore to Rs 52 crore.
According to a trade union leader, many contracted workers who were promised roughly 15,000 rupees a month were not paid on time besides concerns over many deductions from their salary.
For the uninitiated, Wistron manufactures iPhone 7 for Apple, IT products for Lenovo, Microsoft, among others.
As per a report, this all happened due to Wistron's rapid extension in order to ramp up production. "The rapid expansion stretched the company’s systems and sapped the bandwidth of its management team. Its employee access system soon foundered, leaving it with patchy attendance records, delaying wages and overtime pay. Wistron’s human resource team -- comprising about three people -- just couldn’t cope up with the workers’ grievances," the ET report said.
(With ANI and PTI inputs)