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Wistron violence: Top labour contracting firms spar over payment to workers

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Wistron works with six contracting firms, including Quess Corp and the Adecco Group, with some media reports also naming Randstad, Needs Manpower, Innovsource, and Creative Engineers.

A blame game seems to have been set off between iPhone manufacturer Wistron and some of its labour contracting partners, days after violence broke out at the OEM's plant in Kolar, Karnataka over alleged payment issues to workers.
Wistron works with six contracting firms, including Quess Corp and the Adecco Group, with some media reports also naming Randstad, Needs Manpower, Innovsource, and Creative Engineers.
Some of the contracting firms have informed the Karnataka labour department that Wistron has not made full payments to the contractors over the past few months, sources told CNBC-TV18. The contracting firms claim that they have made full payments to workers based on employee contracts.
Around 8,000 contract workers were hired by contracting firms for Wistron in the last few months to work at the Kolar plant.
Some of the contracting firms also allege Wistron failed to integrate attendance systems with the contractors, leading to a mismatch on overtime done by many workers and hence leading to a mismatch in pay.
Earlier, CNBC-TV18 had reported on Monday that a preliminary analysis by the Karnataka government had revealed that many workers were not fully paid for overtime. Government officials had also said the Wistron management had informed the Karnataka labour department that full labour payments had been made at their end.
Wistron did not respond to official queries on the allegations by contractor. Senior company executives told CNBC-TV18 that the firm had made full payments to contractors based on payments made by the latter to the workers.
Specific queries sent to some of these third-party contracting firms did not get a response.
Quess in a statement said, "We have a policy of not commenting on specific companies, owing to potential customer and contractual obligations. This situation is very unfortunate, coming at a time when India is ramping up our presence in manufacturing. We trust the legal system will move quickly to redress the situation and allow this critical manufacturing facility to come online at the earliest."
The manufacturing plant of Wistron in Kolar continues to remain shut as the police is still investigating the scene where thousands of workers went on a rampage In the early hours of December 12. The police has filed an FIR against 7,000 people in the incident, including against 5,000 unnamed contract workers, and 2,000 unknown persons.
In its complaint to the police, Wistron has claimed that the damages during the rampage amount to Rs 437 crore, one-fifth of the total investment of nearly Rs 2,000 crore that the Taiwanese company has committed to investing in boosting production at the plane.
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 on Monday.

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