Health

Foxconn India iPhone plant extends closure, workers’ hostels inspected

The factory, which employs some 17,000 people, had been due
to resume some operations on Monday but is now expected to restart production
with 1,000 workers on Thursday, the official said, adding that the state
government had conducted inspections of workers’ hostels.

Last week, protests erupted after more than 250 women who
work at the plant and live in one of the hostels had to be treated for food
poisoning. Some of the protestors were rounded up by the police but later
released.

The incident has thrown a spotlight on living conditions for
the workers – most of them women – who reside in hostels near the factory which
is located in the southern city of Chennai.

The Taiwanese contract manufacturer for Apple Inc and other
big tech names as well as 11 of its contractors including those who provide
food and living facilities were summoned for a meeting, said the official. The
official was not authorised to speak on the matter and declined to be
identified.

The state government asked Foxconn to review services
provided to the workers including power backup at the hostels, food and water,
and the Directorate Of Industrial Safety And Health also recommended providing
recreational facilities such as a TV, a library and indoor games, the official
added.

According to a separate government source, Foxconn has told
state bureaucrats it had “ramped up production too quickly” and would
gradually ensure that workers’ facilities were upgraded before they go back to
full capacity.

Representatives for Foxconn and Apple were not immediately
available for comment.

See also  Britney Spears not ready to return to music business she calls 'scary'

The gates of the factory, which is on the outskirts of the
southern city of Chennai, were open on Monday morning and some vehicles were
moving in and out but the area was mostly deserted.

The impact on Apple from the closure of the plant, which
makes iPhone 12 models and has started trial production of the iPhone 13, is
expected to be minimal, analysts have said. But the factory is strategic in the
long term as Apple tries to cut its reliance on China’s supply chain amid trade
tensions between Washington and Beijing.

The disruption comes as Apple is dealing with
pandemic-related supply chain bottlenecks that have hit production. In October,
the company warned that the impact of these supply chain problems would worsen
during the holiday quarter.

The unrest at Foxconn is the second such involving an Apple
supplier factory in India in a year. In December 2020, thousands of contract
workers at a factory owned by Wistron Corp destroyed equipment and vehicles
over the alleged non-payment of wages, causing damages estimated at $60m.

Cupertino, California-headquartered Apple has bet big on
India since it began iPhone assembly in the country in 2017. Foxconn, Wistron
and another supplier, Pegatron, have together committed roughly $900m over five
years to make iPhones in India.

Related Articles

Back to top button