Wistron shrugs off Rs 50 crore damage at iPhone factory

Wistron shrugs off Rs 50 crore damage at iPhone factory

A view of Wistron Infocomm Manufacturing India Pvt Ltd, a Taiwanese-run iPhone factory, is seen at Narasapura, about 60 km from Bengaluru on Friday. Credit: DH Photo/Pushkar V

The December 12 riot which brought production to a grinding halt at Wistron Infocomm’s iPhone factory in Kolar will not significantly affect the company, the company said. In a regulatory filing to Taiwan Stock Exchange, the corporation said that an “investigation, which includes collaboration with related government authorities is ongoing, as well as related insurance claims. The company will work with our customer in terms of correcting issues and operation recovery.”

The declaration comes even as the State government said it has no plans to initiate action against Wistron Infocomm for violating labour rules despite both Apple and Wistron admitting to the lapses.

The office of the Deputy Chief Minister Dr Ashwath Narayan said no new actions are being contemplated against the company, adding that the Labour Department was overseeing the matter. However, Labour Department officials declined to comment. 

At the same time, informed sources said that the firm’s Narasapura facility will not resume production soon. “The company is still rebuilding,” the sources said, adding that international consultants had been pressed into service to fix the smashed factory infrastructure.

Two days after sacking its senior executive at Narasapura facility, the company’s global headquarters in Taiwan has taken direct control of the plant operations, according to sources.

A new management team is focusing on restarting production at the factory. “While we are working closely with the police in their investigation, our main worry is to restart the production as early as possible. Security takes precedence over PR,” a source told DH.

The company is also awaiting retrieval of the hundreds of stolen laptops that were being used by company executives, which were pilfered by rioting employees. “The repair work may take some days. We have lost hundreds of laptops and other equipment without which we cannot restart the work immediately,” sources said.

Inspector-General of Police (Central) Seemant Kumar Singh confirmed that in addition to laptops, that over a thousand new iPhones which were ready for shipping had also been taken, as were modems and hundreds of other electronic devices.

“We are in the process of tracking down the persons responsible for using CCTV footage of the incident. Many devices have been recovered. The number of people who have been arrested is now 167,” Singh said. 

According to sources, Wistron said it is up to the government to initiate actions against the errant employees. “We are not here for a blame game,” a source said. However, Dr Narayan’s office stated that there was no question of wiping the slate clean.

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