Karnataka: As iPhone office vandalized, China is making fun of India- India may lose its image at global stage

The quaint town of Kolar and the adjoining Narasapura are hitting global headlines for all the wrong reasons. In 2007, Vemagal in Kolar had experienced the worst ethnic clashes that had spread to Narasapura.

Now, it is again in the news for the riot that has destroyed Karnataka’s first iPhone maker’s dreams of turning into a global player by leveraging cheap labour.

Wistron Corporation, a contract manufacturer for Apple Inc, witnessed violent protest on Friday. The Taiwan-headquartered company stated that it suffered losses of over ₹437.4 crores.

A large number of employees allegedly carried out arson, loot and violence at Wistron’s Narasapura manufacturing plant in Kolar district over some wage-related issues on Saturday, police had said.

It is being claimed that there is a probably leftist link to the violence. China is said to be behind the trouble against firms that are shifting business out of the country. The riots and sabotage took place in the factory when the shift was being changed at 6:30 in the morning. Many iPhones were robbed.

Stones were pelted, glasses were broken and furniture and vehicles were heavily damaged. However, the Government of Karnataka has assured that they will provide necessary security to the company. Deputy Chief Minister CN Ashwath Narayan reviewed the situation.

The escalation took place after the employees alleged that the Taiwan-based organisation had reduced their salaries and was making irregular payments. The angry group of workers went on a rampage on Saturday last week, damaging factory property including vehicles of officials parked at the premises. The workers also shattered windowpanes, furniture, and CCTV cameras at the campus. The Wistron Corporation has said it suffered losses worth several crores in the incident.

A First Information Report (FIR) has been registered against 7,000 unknown people, including 5,000 contract workers, in connection with violence and vandalism at the facility of Wistron Pvt Ltd, manufacturer of iPhone, at its plant in Kolar.

However, a day after the attacks, the Communist party-affiliated trade unions defended the attacks and claimed that they were protesting against the non-payment of salaries. Krishna Siddhi, who is a member of the All India Trade Union Congress of the Communist Party of India, had said that this issue was regarding the extended shifts and the company was not paying salaries for the overtime.

MD Harigovind, the general secretary of the AITUC said, “The industrial violence in Wistron is a direct result of the brutal exploitation of workers and sweatshop-like conditions created by a company, manufacturing the most expensive phones.”

According to Labour Commissioner Akram Pasha, the data showed that the firm had been prompt in paying the dues to its employees, except for this month, where it had been delayed in transferring the remuneration by just 4 days due to some technical issues.

India is making the headlines for all the right reasons. Since India is a perfect platform for the tech giants to pull its customers, Most of the countries are shifting their companies to India from China.

Dharam Sikarwar
Writer, historian, and activist Dharam Sikarwar is a very active author The Youth. He writes on national and international issues, environment, politics. He is an avid book reader as well.