BENGALURU, KOLAR: The Labour Department on Monday initiated an inquiry into the massive unrest at Wistron Corporation’s Narasapura unit in Kolar on Saturday and summoned the company’s officials and six labour contractors, who have supplied workers to the firm that makes iPhones. Labour Commissioner Akram Pasha, who is heading the inquiry team of senior department officers, told TNIE, “We are examining whether any labour laws concerning payment of wages, working hours etc. were violated.
We have asked Wistron officials for documents and once we get them, we will take action.” But sources in the department revealed that they had no clue about the simmering resentment among company’s employees, who went on the rampage and allegedly damaged properties worth Rs 437 crore as claimed by the company in its police complaint.
Asked whether the damage could be this high, Pasha said it has to be looked into. Labour Department officials said that they did not receive any complaints from the workers as the company does not have a labour union. “We receive complaints only if there is such a union,” they said. The factory started operations only in September and labour department officials had inspected the factory premises before giving the goahead, they said. The company has 1,343 permanent employees and 8,490 contract workers, who have been hired by labour contractors for the company. It is alleged that it was these contract workers who ran riot on Saturday.
Company resumes ops
Labour Commissioner Akram Pasha said that while the charge of the employees that they have not been paid for the last two to three months is unsubstantiated, there appears to be some discontent over salary not being paid for the days they worked. A section of the employees were also unhappy that skilled and unskilled workers were being paid the same wages and that their services were not regularised.Pasha said the attack was quite surprising as Wistron employees could have resorted to a strike like at the Toyota unit.
Labour Minister Shivaram Hebbar was not available for comment despite repeated attempts. His assistants said he was busy with Gram Panchayat elections.Meanwhile, two days after the attack, the company resumed operations on Monday. A message was sent to the employees on Sunday, asking them to report to work on Monday morning for the general shift and 350-400 workers arrived, company sources said.
The workers were made to assemble at the portion of the factory that is not damaged and senior officials told them that the damage is too high and that the incident was unfortunate. They assured the employees that full production will be resumed before January 1 and asked the workers to cooperate. The employees were told to report to their superiors from Tuesday.
Though the company has put the damage at Rs 437 crore, sources said that the correct assessment is yet to be done. A team of experts and insurance officials visited the company premises on Monday, and based on their report the exact loss will be known, a senior police officer said.