Karnataka political parties seek probe into violence at Wistron iPhone plant in Kolar

Workers at the Wistron plant, run by the Taiwan-based company, vandalised the premises on Saturday over an alleged delay in payment of salary.
Wistron iphone plant violence
Wistron iphone plant violence
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Political parties in Karnataka on Sunday sought a thorough probe into the violence at Wistron's Apple iPhone manufacturing plant in Kolar district as they expressed concerns about its possible impact on the investment-friendly image of the state. Workers at the plant, run by the Taiwan-based company, had vandalised the premises on Saturday over an alleged delay in payment of salary and overtime wages.

Over 150 people have been detained by the police following the incident during which the workers hurled stones, broke glass windows and doors, overturned and set fire to vehicles with the video footage of the violence going viral on social media. The company in a complaint has alleged that many new mobile phone units, laptops and monitors are missing from the plant. The company has alleged that they have incurred a loss of Rs 437 crores due to the vandalisation.

Condemning the violence, the state government has already assured of necessary action. Leaders of the ruling BJP and opposition Congress termed the incident as unfortunate and sought a detailed probe. A day after the violence, police personnel continued to be deployed at the plant in Narasapura Industrial Area in Kolar district.

"It is unfortunate that Wistron manufacturing plant was violently attacked by agitating workers near Kolar. At a time when many companies are shifting base from China to India, such attacks give a bad name for the State. I request CM BS Yediyurappa to order a probe into this incident," BJP national general secretary CT Ravi tweeted.

Noting that the incident has been reported by several national and international news agencies, senior Congress leader VR Sudarshan, who visited the spot said, it was not a good development for attracting investment and job creation in the state.

He sought stricter measures by the government so that such incidents did not recur.

Calling for immediate mediation by the government between employees and the company for creating a conducive atmosphere for the plant to start functioning again, he asserted that protecting the interest of employees was also equally important.

He also demanded a thorough inquiry into what led to the incident and punishment for those behind it and the ones who instigated it.

Congress MLA and former IT Minister Priyank Kharge too in a tweet said vandalism of Wistron factory was not good for the image of the state.

"Investments and job creating opportunities are dropping due to Corona and in these trying times Govt needs to get its act together in protecting labour and industries interests. Govt seems to be clueless about law and order," he said. 

The incident had occurred a day after a high-level Taiwanese delegation led by Ben Wang, Director General, Taipei Economic and Cultural Center (TECC) on Friday had told Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa that several of their companies were keen to engage with the government to further discuss their investment plans in the state.

Minister for Major and Medium Industries Jagadish Shettar on Saturday had said the state government will give necessary protection to Wistron.

Stating that the government will take stringent measures to prevent such unpleasant events from recurring, he said, it was committed to the business, the workers and the people at large.

“The incident at the Wistron plant is unfortunate and unacceptable. The government is committed to conducting a full and fair investigation into the incident and punishing the wrongdoers," he added.

Deputy Chief Minister and in-charge for IT department CN Ashwath Narayan too has said, strict action will be taken against those who are responsible for the violence and those who caused damage to the properties.

The investigation process has begun to know the actual cause which prompted this situation, he said, adding the inquiry would also look into complaints related to the salary for the workers and cuts in payment.

Besides iPhone for Apple, Wistron also manufactures IT products for Lenovo and Microsoft among others.

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