The total loss incurred by Wistron Infocomm Manufacturing (India) after thousands of workers ransacked its iPhone manufacturing factory at Narasapura industrial area, near here, on Saturday is estimated at ₹437.70 crore.
In his complaint to the police, Prashanth T.D., administrative officer at the plant, claimed that a group of outsiders armed with iron rods and clubs forced its way into the premises around 6 a.m. and targeted the HR block first.
“They breached the four main entrance gates, ransacked offices, smashed lockers and desks, and destroyed documents containing details of employees,” said a senior police officer. Once inside, they were joined by contract workers who had been demanding their wages -- overdue by three to four months, and overtime pay. “We have intensified our probe to identify the ring leaders of the armed mob, based on the complaint filed by Wistron,” the police officer added.
Security guards tried to stop them, but were allegedly overpowered and beaten. By then a contingent of police arrived on the scene, but were overwhelmed by thousands of other workers. Four cars and two golf carts, valued at around ₹60 lakh, parked on the premises were set on fire before an additional police contingent reached the spot.
According to the police FIR, after ransacking the offices the workers moved to the production unit where phones belonging to the employees and kept in lockers, along with other valuables, were looted. They allegedly smashed the computers, printers and CCTVs as well as thousands of smartphones that were getting ready for production. Equipment, including production machinery, phones, laptops, etc. worth ₹412 crore were lost as the protesters went on a rampage. The damage to factory premises itself, including floors, ceilings, and AC power units, was estimated around ₹10 crore.
128 people arrested
As of Sunday, the police had arrested around 128 people who participated in the violent protest. “We have had information on the people who instigated the attack . They are on the run and efforts are on to track them down,” the senior police officer added. Another 300 people have been detained for questioning.
Wistron Infocomm Manufacturing (India), which is part of the Taipei-based Wistron Corporation, has around 15,000 “employees”, but only around 1,400 are on the rolls. The rest are contract workers, who allegedly joined in the violent protest.