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Wistron iPhone factory riot may have been caused by hiring spree

Wistron reportedly quadrupled its workforce in eight months.

What you need to know

  • A new report says a Wistron iPhone factory in India had quadrupled its workforce in the eight months leading up to a riot last weekend.
  • The deluge of new employees may have overloaded the company’s systems and managing teams, leading to unpaid salaries and unsolved grievances.

A new report says that a Wistron iPhone factory in India quadrupled its workforce in the eight months leading up to a violent riot staged by workers, possibly fuelling unrest.

From Bloomberg:

Apple Inc.’s supplier in India quadrupled workers in about eight months, ramping up production just as the world’s most valuable company began direct online sales in the South Asia nation. The only hitch: Wistron Corp.’s systems weren’t robust enough to handle the deluge. The number of workers at the Taiwanese company, the first Apple supplier to produce iPhones in India, surged to about 9,000 in November from some 2,000 just before the pandemic, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Wistron hired the contractual workers from six manpower companies, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter was private. A representative for Wistron declined to comment.

The report claims that the deluge of new employees “stretched the company’s systems and sapped the bandwidth of its management team”, according to one source. That, in turn, led to issues with the employee access system, making for “patchy” attendance records, and delays in the payment of wages and overtime.

Apparently, Wistron only had a team of three HR employees to deal with the grievances of its 9,000 strong workforce. Unsurprisingly, it is reported that they “couldn’t cope with workers’ grievances.”

A report earlier today stated that India’s Prime Minister was very worried about the riot. The disturbance occured at the end of a nightshift Friday, December 11 over claims of unpaid wages. Employees were filmed destroying the factory, breaking glass and overturning cars before setting them alight.

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