The workers of a company producing Apple products – allegedly having not been paid for up to four months – led a recent Labour Riot in India, destroying many of the company’s facilities – as well as their bosses’ luxurious cars – in a blow against capitalist exploitation.
Last Saturday, December 12th, an estimated 2,000 workers at Wistron factory, after completing a night shift, took to destroying the facilities after the way in which they were treated.
Working together, they proceeded to flip the vehicles of their bosses, set company signs on fire, and tore up the offices of senior executives.
A contract employee was quoted as saying
“For months now, we worked hard, woke up at 4 am to reach the pick-up point on time and toiled for 12 hours everyday, as this was a dream to build a career… to settle down”
The general secretary of the All India Trade Union Congress, Bengaluru, M.D. Harigovind said in a press release.
“The industrial violence in Wistron is a direct result of the brutal exploitation of workers and sweatshop-like conditions created by a company, manufacturing the most expensive mobile phones. The state government has allowed the company to flout basic rights of the workers like payment of wages and working hours,”
Indian activists have been working hard standing up against the recent labour laws the Indian government has passed through that has made it harder for the workers to strike.
Seemant Kumar Sing, Karnataka’s IGP (Central Range) commenting on the unrest said.
“There were over 6’000 people at the campus at the time of violence. Property has been damaged, but there is no loss to life or injury. Situation is under control now. We are identifying the riots and as of now we have detained over 100 people and 4-5 cases are booked for rioting and arson”
Going back to July this year with news in India, Apple made the announcement that the iPhone 11 is going to be made in the country from now on. This falls in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Made in India” initiative, with the Commerce Minister of India Piyush Goyal making the announcement on Twitter of the “Significant boost to Make in India! Apple has started manufacturing iPhone 11 in India, bringing a top-of-the-line model for the first time in the country.”
This initiative is a big push by Apple, the most valuable company in the world with a market capitalization of $2 trillion, and one that is trying to expand its global reach.
In order for the company to keep the price low enough for the phones to be a mass consumer product for the people of India, it is necessary for Apple to have the products made locally – in order to dodge the Indian government import fees that are hiked up on goods made in China.
The Narasapura plant was only operational for just a few months until the destruction ensued.