Wistron’s internal investigation finds lapses in wage payment

The company has sacked a senior official on disciplinary grounds
Last Updated 19 December 2020, 10:47 IST

Apple’s contract manufacturer Wistron on Saturday said some workers at its Narasapura facility were not paid correctly or on time. The company has been conducting an internal investigation into the unfortunate events that happened last week at the plant and found lapses in the payment of wages to employees, according to highly-placed sources.

“This is a new facility and we recognise that we made mistakes as we expanded. Some of the processes we put in place to manage labour agencies and payments need to be strengthened and upgraded. We are taking immediate action to correct this, including disciplinary action,” the Taiwan-headquartered company said in a statement.

As an immediate disciplinary action, the company has removed a senior official designated Vice President who oversees the business in India. “We are also enhancing our processes and restructuring our teams to ensure these issues cannot happen again,” the company said.

The company said the safety and wellbeing of its team members is always a top priority and a core value for everyone at Wistron.

On December 12, thousands of workers at Wistron’s factory in Narasapura resorted to violence and damaged the company’s property worth over Rs 50 crore. They protested against the delay in payment of wages as well as salaries less than what they had been assured by the HR firms that had supplied workers to the company.

“Our top priority is to ensure all workers are fully compensated immediately and we are working hard to achieve that. We have established an employee assistance programme for workers at the facility. We also set up a 24-hour grievance hotline in Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Hindi and English to ensure all workers can voice any concerns they may have anonymously. We are deeply committed to our business and employees in India. We are working diligently on corrective actions to ensure this does not happen again,” Wistron said in a statement.

Currently, Wistron is undertaking repair work at its facility and plans to restart the full-fledged production soon after that, the sources added.

Meanwhile, a preliminary investigation, conducted by Apple Inc, into the incidents at Wistron also revealed a violation of Supplier Code of Conduct by failing to implement proper working hour management processes. This led to payment delays for some workers in October and November.

"Apple employees and independent auditors hired by Apple have been working around the clock to investigate the issues which occurred at Wistron’s Narasapura facility. While these investigations are ongoing, our preliminary findings indicate violations of our Supplier Code of Conduct by failing to implement proper working hour management processes. This led to payment delays for some workers in October and November.

"As always, our focus is on making sure everyone in our supply chain is protected and treated with dignity and respect. We are very disappointed and taking immediate steps to address these issues. Wistron has taken disciplinary action and is restructuring their recruitment and payroll teams in Narasapura. They have also set up an employee assistance program and a 24-hour grievance hotline in Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Hindi, and English to ensure all workers at the facility can voice concerns, anonymously," Apple said in a statement.

Apple has placed Wistron on probation and they will not receive any new business from Apple before they complete corrective actions. Apple employees, along with independent auditors, will monitor their progress, the company said.

"Our main objective is to make sure all the workers are treated with dignity and respect, and fully compensated promptly," the Apple statement added.

(Published 19 December 2020, 09:20 IST)

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