Industry body ICEA on Tuesday condemned the violence that took place at Apple's contract manufacturing firm Wistron's facility in Karnataka and said the incident is neither a reflection of India as a country nor its culture. Workers at Wistron Corporation's manufacturing facility in the Narasapura Industrial Area at the Kolar district near Bengaluru went on rampage on Saturday over non-payment of their wages.
In a letter to Vincent Lee, vice-president (innovation business group) of Wistron Infocomm Manufacturing India, the India Cellular and Electronics Association said it fully stands by Wistron and is committed to working closely with the central government, the state government and security agencies to ensure that such an incident is never repeated.
"We want to assure you that what has occurred at the Wistron factory is neither a reflection of India as a country, nor our culture. We believe in Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the world is a family) and the concept of Atithi Devo Bhava (the guest is equivalent to God).
"We have the highest respect for Wistron and the work it is undertaking at an unprecedented speed to expand its operations in India," Mohindroo said.
Wistron is one of the 16 entities to have received approval for incentives under the government's production-linked incentive plan. Currently, iPhone XR and iPhone 11 are being assembled by Foxconn in Chennai and iPhone 7 by Wistron in Bengaluru. The Kolar facility assembles the latest version of the iPhone SE.
"Wistron is a flagship project for India's electronics manufacturing and remains a top priority installation whose safety and security needs to be guaranteed under all circumstances," Mohindro said.
Wistron said a large number of employees allegedly carried out arson, loot and violence at its Narasapura manufacturing plant damaging the building and vehicles, and damaged equipment including machines and computers. The police have so far arrested 149 people and detained a few others.
"While we understand that in any new factory, there are HR-related issues and scope for process improvement as well as screening of employees. None of it justifies acts of vandalism and stealing. There are several peaceful means by which the employees can register their complaints, if any," Mohindroo said.
Besides the iPhone, Wistron also manufactures IT products for Lenovo and Microsoft, among others.
Mohindroo said the ICEA is in touch with Wistron India MD Sudipto Gupta and will put together an elaborate plan not only to ensure all support from the government with regard to safety and security but also to assist with resumption of operations at the earliest possible date.
Apple in a statement had said it is undertaking a detailed investigation following the violent incident at its supplier Wistron's Narasapura facility in Karnataka.
Apple, in its supplier code of conduct, states that suppliers must meet all legal requirements related to wages and benefits, including paying accurate wages in a timely manner. In November, Apple Inc suspended new business with one of its suppliers, Pegatron Corp, after labour violations were reported.