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Industrials

Apple supplier Wistron to restart India factory, still on probation

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Apple Inc on Tuesday said supplier Wistron Corp will restart operations at its factory in southern India after violence at the site led to its shutdown late last year, though the Taiwanese company would remain on probation.

FILE PHOTO: Men wearing protective face masks walk past broken windows of a facility run by Wistron Corp, a Taiwanese contract manufacturer for Apple, in Narsapura near the southern city of Bengaluru, India, December 14, 2020. REUTERS/Stringer

Cupertino, California-based Apple, which uses Wistron to assemble its second-generation iPhone SE, said its staff and independent auditors had been working for the past eight weeks to ensure all systems and processes were in place at the factory in the Narasapura industrial area of Karnataka state.

“As Wistron begins the process of hiring team members and restarting their operations, everyone at the facility will undergo a new training program to ensure they understand their rights and how they can raise any concerns,” Apple said, adding it would continue to track progress at the factory.

The factory was shut after contract workers angry over unpaid wages destroyed property, equipment and iPhones on Dec. 12, causing millions of dollars worth of damage.

An Apple audit found violations of its ‘Supplier Code of Conduct’ at the plant.

Separately, Wistron said it was working hard to raise standards and fix issues at the factory. It said it had paid all workers and introduced new hiring and payroll systems.

“We are looking forward to restarting our operations and welcoming back team members,” Wistron said, without giving a timeline.

Neither Apple nor Wistron said when iPhone production would resume at the plant, but three government officials, who declined to be named as they are not authorised to speak to the media, told Reuters operations could begin as early as next week.

Wistron would gradually ramp up production at the factory over the next few weeks, two of the sources said.

Apple began the assembly of its first iPhone model in India via Wistron in 2017. It has since expanded manufacturing with Foxconn in southern India while another top supplier Pegatron is set to begin local operations.

Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal and Aftab Ahmed in New Delhi and Ben Ben Blanchard in Taipei; Additional reporting by Chandini Monnappa in Bengaluru; Editing by Christopher Cushing, Shri Navaratnam, Susan Fenton, Kirsten Donovan

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