iPhone Factory Workers Riot Over Unpaid Wages

There is trouble brewing at a supplier for the biggest name in tech as workers at an iPhone factory in southern India reportedly rioted over the weekend, saying their employer has failed to pay them.

In what was described as a “violent rampage,” employees of Taiwan’s Wistron Corp. — an assembler of Apple products, including the iPhone — smashed glass, destroyed work stations and flipped cars outside of their workplace. The hundreds of demonstrators allege that Wistron has withheld wages, some for as long as four months, and is forcing them to work unpaid overtime.

Wistron employs about 15,000 workers at the facility, most contracted from labor firms, reports the South China Morning Post. Since Saturday’s activities, the area is being characterized as under control, although assembly operations have been suspended. All told, the damage from the riot is estimated to be around $60 million.

The company described the actors as “people of unknown identities from outside who intruded into and damaged (the) facility with unclear intentions.”

But according to a report in the Times of India, the unrest was sparked by workers who started discussing their wages with one another during a shift. It became clear as they communicated that many of them were seeing their pay docked over time, whittling down from the initial salary they had been promised when they were hired.

“The anger turned into violence by the time the shift ended,” the report said.

BBC News backed up the claim that it was the workers who revolted, saying a meeting with HR over wages failed to resolve their concerns — and that’s when the riots began.

Wistron has said that it "pledged to follow local labor (laws)" but there is no word yet on if, or how, the situation is being addressed.

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