Apple said on Monday it is investigating whether a Taiwan contractor, Wistron Corp, flouted supplier guidelines at an iPhone manufacturing facility in India, after some workers ransacked the plant in a protest over unpaid wages.
Videos taken by employees in the Wistron factory showed men, many wearing masks due to the coronavirus outbreak, destroying security cameras, windows and other equipment.
The crowd smashed four cars, two golf carts, stole laptops and smartphones and destroyed other office equipment, according to a police report filed by Wistron and reviewed by Reuters.
In the complaint, Wistron accused more than 5,000 contract workers and some 2,000 unknown people of destruction of property. It put the losses at 4.38 billion rupees ($60 million).
“Apple is dedicated to ensuring everyone in our supply chain is treated with dignity and respect. We have teams on the ground and immediately launched a detailed investigation at Wistron’s Narasapura facility in India,” Apple told NDTV.
“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.
Saturday’s violence is estimated to have caused Rs 437 crore in losses, much of it because of damage to equipment, and pilferage of iPhones and laptops. Some 156 people have been arrested.
In the past, Apple has come down heavily on contract manufacturers for breaching its supplier code of conduct.
Last month, Apple’s key supplier Pegatron broke the former’s supply chain rules after the Taiwanese firm asked students to work night shifts and overtime at one of its plants in mainland China.
Apple Supplier Responsibility 2020 Progress Report showed that of the12 core violations found in the labour and human rights category in 2019, 10 were related to working-hours violations.
Apple is Wistron’s biggest customer, but the manufacturing facility also produces products for other companies. Wistron has two manufacturing plants in Karnataka and produces the iPhone SE and the iPhone 7.
The complaint by Wistron states that a total of 7,000 people were possibly involved in the incident, including 5,000 contract workers.