An iPhone manufacturing plant run by a Taiwanese company, Wistron Corp, at Karnataka's Kolar district was attacked by employees aggrieved over alleged non-payment of salaries and overworking for months.
The incident took place in the early hours on Saturday, at around 6:30 am, when over 1,000 employees gathered outside the plant in Kolar's Narsapur area, protesting against the management for not paying wages to most of the employees for months and accused them of overworking the factory workers and violating the norms of Factories Act, The News Minute reported.
Stones were pelted at the building, broke electrical equipment, and two company vehicles were overturned and set ablaze, after talks with the management had failed, following which the Police resorted to lathi-charge.
Kolar SP, Karthik Reddy informed the incident occurred during the change of shifts. Morning shift employees met the management and demanded their rightful wages, some of whom have not been paid for months. The ones who stood up were fired.
The police have collected the CCTV footage from the plant to investigate into the matter, Reddy added. The team has detained 132 people in connection with the violence, and an FIR has been registered at Narsapura Police station under sections for vandalism and rioting.
According to the report, the employees had submitted multiple requests to the management requesting payment of wages on time but received no response. The company has even hired factory workers in six different firms on a sub-contractual basis and had promised to pay ₹16,000 per month.
However, when they started working, the employees were informed they would be receiving only ₹12,000 a month, one of the employees told the media. The workers have also alleged of working overtime. According to the Factories Act, working hours are capped at 8 hours per day, but the company allegedly made the employees work for 12 hours straight.
Due to the lack of a labour union in the district, it became hard for the workers to fight, said Sathyanarayana, Secretary of the All India Council of Trade Unions. He said many employees told him the issue was ongoing for over six months, and employees were struggling to meet the ends. When talks with the management failed, they were angry, he added.
Minister for Major and Medium Industries Jagadish Shettar called the incident unfortunate. The Government will punish the wrongdoers. The problem could have been resolved if it had been adequately addressed as per law," he added.
The Karnataka government later announced that it would provide necessary protection to the company, and take stringent measures to prevent such incidents from recurring.