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Karnataka govt reports reveals serious violations at Wistron factory

A detailed government report has laid bare a slew of violations at Wistron Infotech  facatory which witnessed violence  by workers few days back and labour supply contractor firms according to a report published in Deccan Herald.

The report comes even as Apple Inc hasas announced to send more investigators to  facaility at kolar to probe Wistron’s serious violation of the supplier’s code of conduct.

 Department of Factories, Boilers, Industrial Safety and Health,has found that the facatory scaled up its licensed manpower strength at its Narasapura plant from 5,000 to 10,500 in a short time without permission, while also starting construction of new buildings and facilities without government authorisation and approval of building plans.

Contactor manpower supply firms have also committed violations of  paymenyt of wages and Factories Act and State Rules and provisions of Contract Labour Act.

Seven major contractors have been engaged to supply manpower to the factory are Innov Source Pvt Ltd, Creative Engineers, Needs Manpower Support Services, Randstad, Quess Corp Limited, Adecco Group and United (Housekeeping).

Of these, Creative Engineers and Quess Corp Ltd were permitted to engage 2,350 and 1,350 contract workers, respectively, at the factory, whereas they had engaged 2,410 and 1,511 workers. This is in violation of Section 14 and Rule 28 of the Contract Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Section 76 of the said act.

These firms have not maintained an attendance register, which they neglected to furnish to the investigation team, in violation of Section 78(1)(A)(A)(i). Wistron’s run two shifts of 12 hours each  from 6 am to 6 pm and from 6 pm to 6 am was also found to be in violation of the provisions of Section 51 and 54 of the Factories Act, 1948.

The report also said women workers have been made to work overtime at the factory with out complying with safety  and security provisions  required for women as per Factories Rules. When the default/difference  of payment  of wages and OT was brought to the attention of HR department and contractors, the HR team “assured that this would be rectified and the difference payment would be paid along with the next month's salary". But investigators found that this difference was not paid along with salaries in November.

Responding to a query by DH on the alleged violations, Guruprasad Srinivasan, COO, Quess Corp said: “This is really an unfortunate incident. We have paid wages to the contract workers as per the offer letter we issued to them. We don't violate any norms as we are a listed firm and we are subject to severe audit,” he said.

However, the government report found that some firms were declaring payments to workers as per the norms while underpaying or delaying payments to workers.

“The salaries of housekeeping contract workers have not been paid to date and (they) are required to work for 12 hours a day for six days a week and are being paid the same salary which they were being paid when they were working for eight hours a day,” the report added.

Investigators also found that the firm changed the factory’s worktime from eight-hour to 12-hour shift without informing the labour department.

Apple Inc said in a statement that it is “dispatching additional Apple team members and auditors to the facility”.The spokesperson for the US smartphone giant said it will look into various issues pertaining to the supplier code of conduct and take necessary action.

“This is a criminal case and the local government bodies are probing. We are extending all the required support. Apple is dedicated to ensuring everyone in our supply chain is treated with dignity and respect,” the statement said.