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Apple investigating Kolar plant violence; Wistron claims Rs 437 crore in damages

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iPhone manufacturer - Wistron, which saw a violent workers' agitation at its Kolar plant on Saturday, has claimed that the damages due to the rampage amount to Rs 437 crore. This is roughly one-fifth of the total investment of the Rs 2,000 crore that the Taiwanese company has committed to investing at the plant. 

iPhone manufacturer - Wistron, which saw a violent workers' agitation at its Kolar plant on Saturday, has claimed that the damages due to the rampage amount to Rs 437 crore. This is roughly one-fifth of the total investment of the Rs 2,000 crore that the Taiwanese company has committed to investing at the plant.
However, government officials have told CNBC-TV18 that the preliminary analysis shows that the total damages could be under Rs 100 crore. Insiders at Wistron also claim that there was looting of iPhones during the violence.
Apple, which contracts Wistron to manufacture its iPhones, has said in a statement that it has launched a ‘detailed investigation’ at the facility and are sending in more auditors to the plant.
“We have teams on the ground and immediately launched a detailed investigation at Wistron’s Narasapura facility in India. We are also dispatching additional Apple team members and auditors to the facility. Our teams are in close touch with the local authorities and we’re offering our full support to their investigation,” Apple said in a statement.
A government investigation is also underway to ascertain the cause for agitation and labour payments norms.
Government officials said that a preliminary investigation shows that many workers were not paid for overtime in the last few months.  Operations at the Wistron plant in Kolar district began three months ago.
Staffing firm Quess is among the contracting firms that Wistron partnered with, company sources told CNBC-TV18. Quess did not respond to queries from CNBC-TV18.
The same government officials said that Wistron management has informed them that full labour payments were made and that they are working with third-party contracting firms to understand if there were delays. Over 8,000 workers were contracted through third-party firms to work at the Kolar factory. Thousands of workers went on a rampage at the facility around 6 am on December 12.
Karnataka officials are also in contact with the Taiwanese consulate, Wistron, Apple on the labour issue, CNBC-TV18 has learned.
Wistron did not respond to specific queries but in a statement said they are supporting local authorities in the investigation.
“Deeply shocked by the events at our Narasapura facility. We follow the law and are supporting the authorities with their investigation. Safety and wellbeing of our team members are always our top priority,” Sudipto Gupta, managing director, innovation business group, Wistron Smart Devices, said in a statement.
In 2019 Wistron committed to investing Rs 1,947 crore in Kolar plant to boost production and employ 10,000 workers. Karnataka government officials say Wistron is also looking to add another Rs 1000 crore of investment into Karnataka.

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