1. Rapid expansion, random wage cuts: behind the Wistron violence.
2. Preference for fixed-term employees can improve industry relations.
3. The tightrope between production, industrial peace.Topic in syllabus:
Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment. (GS-3)Analysis about:
These editorials talks about Wistron violence, issues associated with labour force in India & their solutions.Why the violence erupted at a new factory of Wistron Infocomm Manufacturing India Pvt Ltd?
- Wistron, which makes devices and peripheral systems for major global tech companies, has manufacturing facilities and R&D centres at two dozen locations around the world. The company started a small pilot plant in Bengaluru in 2017 to make the iPhone and, in 2018, decided to make a large investment in Karnataka for a full-fledged plant.
- According to investigations by police, trade unions, and the state government, a pressure-cooker situation had built up in the factory due to anomalies in the wage payment system after Wistron rapidly scaled up its contractual employee strength from around 3,000 to nearly 8,500 between September 2020 and December 2020.
- “They scaled up very fast. This facility became operational only in August. Before August, the plant was not in existence. All the recruitment has happened in the last three or four months. They sought initial permission for 5,000 people, and then went to 9,000 at their level. Maybe there was more demand. This was when they moved from eight-hour to 12-hour shifts,” said Gaurav Gupta, principal secretary of the commerce and industries department in Karnataka.
- The contract employees were hired and paid through six manpower supply contractors, but their work was supervised and managed by Wistron officials. “In two months, we provided 2,300 workers to the firm; nearly 1,600 were young people from Kolar itself,” said A N Srinivas, a recruiter for Creative Engineers, a local labour contractor.
- Initial police investigations have revealed that the contractors were not paying the workers their full wages as per their contracts, or for overtime work. “The factory was being operated like a sweatshop,” police sources said. While wages were slashed from Rs 22,000 to Rs 8,000 in some cases, wages for November were not paid until December 12, contract employees have said.
- Workers were working in two compulsory 12-hour shifts. With no employee grievance redressal system in place at the firm or a union, workers were constantly asking company officials for their dues, the All India Central Council of Trade Unions has said in a report.