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Business continues as usual: Aftermath of „Apple’s Slave Rebellion“

Weeks after workers rioted and smashed the iPhone’s factory in India, in what is now dubbed as „Apple’s Slave Rebellion“, the business will continue as usual.

In the meantime, the police was going around Bengaluru visiting workers’ homes and arresting those who rioted.

More than 160 workers were apprehended in connection with the riot.

The riot caused up to $7 million in damages.

KS Narayanswamy from Kakere village said his two children, Suraj (21) and daughter Shilpa (23), have been working for the past few months in the Wistron facility.

His son was picked up the police.

Narayanswamy was waiting outside the police office in Kolar to get his son released when journalists met him.

He said that his children were promised a salary of Rs 21,000 per month ($287) but only got between Rs 6,000-9,000 per month ($82.09 – $123.13).

They asked Suraj to get ready and come with them so that they could enquire about his salary. He was sleeping when they came and took him,” Narayanswamy described the arrest.

Another parent complained to the journalists he is worried about his son.

He said his son began working just two months ago at the Wistron facility.

My son was not well. He only worked on Monday and Tuesday and was on leave. His next shift was only on Saturday evening on the day of the violence which took place in the morning. He was not involved. On Sunday morning, we had to attend a function and that is when the police came and took him,” father complained to journalists.

Shocking scenes of workers smashing a factory circled the globe.

They complained of not being paid.

Initially, there were three shifts which were converted to two shifts with 12 hours duty and four hours overtime. While the company is not paying salaries for overtime, it has reduced the promised salaries to employees,” alleged Krishna Siddi, All India Trade Union Congress member.

For the past four months, the employees were raising concerns about salary deductions but in vain, he said.

Each worker is compelled to do 12-hour shifts every day/night and has no say on which shift they can opt for. Women are made to work in the night shift as well. For every four days of work, the workers are provided 2 days off. There is no avenue for redressal of grievances of the workers,” AICCTU claimed in its report.

Workers have accused the company of not being given wages for overtime work, which is found to be true. We have asked Wistron to share all records related to the work attendance and payment. Action will be taken as per the law,” labour commissioner Akram Pasha told ET.

On December 12th, some 2,000 workers decided to protest unpaid wages by rioting at one of Wistron’s offices, smashing up the lobby, and overturning vehicles.

Watch: Workers riot at Apple iPhone manufacturing plant near Bengaluru

Violence broke out on Saturday at the Taiwan-headquartered Wistron Corporation’s plant near Kolar where iPhones and other IT products are manufactured as lar…

Indian media now reports all dues of the employees have been cleared by the company after the riot.

“Restoration work at the Wistron Narasapura plant is nearly 60 per cent complete”, said Karnataka Labour Minister A S Hebbar, while maintaining that their priority is to restart the plant within 2-3 weeks and to make sure all the workers get back to work.

He said the Taiwanese company which manufactures Apple iPhones apart from Lenovo and Microsoft products has placed an order of over 800 laptops for its staff.

The glass facades that were ransacked during the violence have also been replaced, he added.

Reuters, Bloomberg and others reported that Apple has put Taiwanese manufacturing giant Wistron on “probation” — meaning it won’t receive any new business from Apple until it sorts things out.

Before it started making phones in India, Apple was asking for a long list of financial concessions from India, one of the poorest countries in the world.

Among the requests, the company was seeking a 15-year tax holiday on imports of components and equipment, a waiver on customs duties for new and used equipment brought into India, and full exemption from duties on raw materials, components, and capital equipment.

Apple doesn’t manufacture the phones itself, but rather partners with contract manufacturers like Wistron Corp.

Apple embraced a model that outsourced its manufacturing about two decades ago, and has never looked back.

Motley Fool tech analyst Dylan Lewis and contributor Evan Niu explained recently why Apple went that route, and how it benefits the business.

One of the major changes that Apple underwent really with Tim Cook, was this idea of changing from having their own in-house manufacturing, their own in-house warehouses, company-owned, to moving to this contract-manufacturing type relationship”, said Dylan.

Evan Niu adds they did in the late ’90s or so.

“They used to make Macs in the U.S. in California. They just realized that it was way too expensive in-house”, says Niu.

This decision by the business to go to this contract-manufacturing relationship. It was really something that Tim Cook pushed aggressively. For all the praise that Steve Jobs gets as this design, branding, user-experience mastermind. This is where Tim Cook’s expertise really is, in operational efficiency and just running a business extremely well from a supply chains point of view. He has really pushed the business to where they are now, where they rely heavily on these contract manufacturers”, concluded Lewis.