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technology | IST

Apple, Wistron say ready to restart Kolar plant; can employ up to 15,000 workers

Apple's contract manufacturer Wistron said on Tuesday it was looking to restart operations at its Kolar plant in Karnataka which was shut late last year after workers went on a rampage at the site

Wistron and Apple have said that they are ready to restart operations at the former's Kolar plant in Karnataka. The plant has remained shut since December 12 after employees went on rampage over unpaid dues. However, both companies did not specify when the plant would restart.
Apple said in a statement that "corrective actions" have been completed and that Wistron, which mainly makes the iPhone SE for the tech giant, has started the process for restarting operations.
However, Apple said that the probation on Wistron will continue.
Apple found violations of suppliers' code of conduct and had put Wistron on probation within a week following the violence at its Kolar plant.
Wistron agreed that it found some of the workers were not paid correctly and had fired its India VP.
"For the past eight weeks, teams across Apple, along with independent auditors, have been working with Wistron to make sure the necessary systems and processes are in place at their Narasapura facility. A comprehensive set of corrective actions has now been completed and Wistron has restructured their recruiting team and enhanced training and support for workers," an Apple spokesperson said.
"As Wistron begins the process of hiring team members and restarting their operations, everyone at the facility will undergo a new training program to ensure they understand their rights and how they can raise any concerns. Apple employees and independent auditors will remain on site to validate that the new processes are effective. Wistron remains on probation and we will monitor their progress closely," the spokesperson added.
Meanwhile, Wistron said that it is set to employ up to 15,000 workers as it looks to reopen the plant. Sources in the Karnataka government told CNBC-TV18 that Wistron has received a license to employ up to 15,000 workers at the plant. The license was granted a few weeks ago.
Wistron's previous license was to employ 5,000 workers, but the company had scaled up rapidly and breached the number by hiring over 10,000 workers, mostly through contracting firms.
Wistron CEO David Shen in a statement said that all employees have been paid and that new hiring and payroll systems have been implemented.
Among several issues at the plant, there were complaints of overtime work not being recorded as the attendance system was not implemented properly.
"Since the events at our Narasapura facility in December, we have been working hard on improvements across the board to raise standards and fix the issues. All employees have been promptly and fully paid, and we implemented new hiring and payroll systems to ensure everyone is paid correctly and provided the correct documentation going forward," Shen said.
"We will be delivering enhanced training programs for all workers, and have put in a place a new system for workers to get information and raise any concerns they may have, anonymously. We are looking forward to restarting our operations and welcoming back team members and we thank them for their patience and support as we worked through corrective actions," he added.