File Photo: PTI
File Photo: PTI

Bengaluru: Upset and embarrassed over the incident of violence and hooliganism in the Wistron plant near Bengaluru that manufactures iPhones for Apple, the Central government has pulled up the Karnataka government.

The Centre has expressed ‘deep concern’ over the violence. The Union cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba reportedly held a video conference with Karnataka chief secretary TM Vijay Bhaskar and other senior officials.

“They asked us to handle the situation deftly and take immediate steps to restart the factory,” a senior official was quoted in the media. “They were upset at the government’s intelligence-gathering agencies and the delay by the police in responding to the violence,” he added.

In another move, the ministry of home affairs has sent an advisory to the state over the violence which received global coverage.

The advisory said “necessary measures” must be taken to maintain law and order and infuse confidence “among companies, especially foreign investors”.

Meanwhile, Taiwan-headquartered Wistron has scaled down the quantum of loss suffered in the Saturday violence in its factory in Narasapura in Kolar district.

Wistron has informed the Taiwanese Stock Exchange that the violence did not cause any material damage to major manufacturing equipment and warehouses, and that the preliminary estimates of damages is around 100 to 200 million New Taiwan Dollar (the local currency). That's about Rs 52 crore.

On Monday the company had told the police that the loss was around Rs 437 crore. It's not clear if the company had initially overestimated the damage, or whether the police made a mistake in its report or the communication of it.

In another related move, the Karnataka Labour Department has found several violations of labour rights including discrepancies in paying contract workers and non-payment of salaries for overtime work of the housekeeping staff.

A preliminary report submitted by the Department of Factories Boilers and Industrial Safety stated that the company had increased overtime work hours for employees without informing the Labour Department.

“There has been a difference in the payment paid to the contract workers, with the number of days present shown in the salary statement, which had been brought to the knowledge of the HR and the contractors,” the department’s report stated.

The report also stated that permission was not taken from the Karnataka Labour Department prior to hiring 13,500 workers. The company allegedly was constructing huge buildings and other facilities without obtaining the department’s permission for the extension of the factory building.

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Free Press Journal