Apple puts Wistron on probation, no new business till corrective actions are taken

Wistron will not receive any new business from Apple before they complete corrective actions, and Apple’s employees and independent auditors will monitor their progress.

Apple has placed its contract manufacturer Wistron on probation following the violence at the Kolar plant in Karnataka. Wistron will not receive any new business from Apple before they complete corrective actions, Apple said in a statement. Apple’s 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,” it added.

It has also expressed disappointment at finding violations of its ‘Supplier Code of Conduct’ by failing to implement proper working hour management processes. This, Apple has said, led to payment delays for some workers in October and November. 

“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,” Apple said in a statement.

Apple’s statement comes close on the heels of Wistron admitting to lapses at its Kolar plant, and apologising to workers. On December 12, thousands of workers at the iPhone manufacturing plant in Kolar vandalised the plant in anger over unpaid and delayed wages. “We deeply regret this and apologize to all of our workers,” Wistron said.

Wistron said in a statement that its investigation found that some workers were not paid correctly, or on time.

Admitting that it made mistakes, it sacked Vincent Lee, Vice President (innovation business group) of Wistron Infocomm Manufacturing India and said that it is processes and restructuring its teams to ensure such incidents are not repeated.

Wistron has 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.

In addition, the Karnataka Labour Department too found that several labour laws were violated at the Kolar plant. In a to the Union Labour Department, it noted that a technical malfunction in the system that records employee attendance led to workers not being paid and their wages being deducted, and also stated that Wistron had not addressed the issue after installing new systems post March 2020.

This is the second major supplier that Apple has put under probation. In November, Apple put one of its biggest supply chain partners Pegatron on probation and said it will not receive any new contracts from the company after Apple found it to be faking paperwork to cover up violations of Apple’s code of conduct for suppliers.

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