Karnataka govt reports highlight labour violations at Wistron’s iPhone factory

The report said that the company increased overtime work hours for employees without informing the Labour Department.
Wistron Crop's manufactory in Kolar
Wistron Crop's manufactory in Kolar
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The Karnataka Labour Department, which compiled a preliminary report regarding the incident of vandalism at Wistron’s iPhone manufacturer in Karnataka’s Kolar 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. The report was compiled after hundreds of workers at Wistron’s plant vandalised property alleging that their grievances were stonewalled, TNM had earlier reported.

In another preliminary report submitted by the Department of Factories Boilers and Industrial Safety dated December 13, the officials who inspected the plant and interviewed Wistron’s officials and the employment contractors have 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.

It said that this difference in pay was not credited along with the salary for the month of November 2020. “The salary of the housekeeping contract workers are not paid till date, and are required to work for 12 hours a day for six days a week, and are being paid the same salary which they were being paid when they were working for 8 hours a day,” the report stated.

"Fault in the attendance system to correctly capture the attendance of the workers has not been addressed though it has continued for the past two months. The practices in place with regard to payment of wages and overtime work, are not in line with the provisions of law. There is a wide gap between the practices in the factory to the statutory stipulations under the law pertaining to the period of work,” the department’s report said.  

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

In a report to Principal Secretary to the Industries Department Gaurav Gupta, the Labour Department said that the company employed people through employment agencies without checking whether they suited the role. “We have also observed that without detailing the criteria, the company hired them as contract employees. It was also observed that the 1,343 permanent employees enjoyed more benefits than the contract employees, leading to the discord,” the Labour Department’s report to the Principal Secretary said.

Employees that TNM spoke to alleged that it wasn’t the first time they approached Wistron’s HR Department and the employment contracting agencies in the last six months individually and collectively. They alleged that each time they were told the outstanding salary amounts would be deposited into their accounts the following month. However, the delays never really stopped.

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