The vandalism that erupted in the wee hours of 12 December at Wistron’s iPhone manufacturing plant in Kolar, Karnataka was an inevitable inflection point. For months until then, contract employees had approached company HR and even district deputy commissioner C Satyabhama over exploitative labour practices. They’d complained about an increase in work hours from eight to 12 hours without overtime payment (which was promised), falsified attendance records, and non-payment of incentives for working on festivals (also promised). All complaints seem to have been cold-shouldered by the Wistron management.
In October this year, over 100 employees had approached Kolar DC Sathyabhama and asked her to intervene. DC Sathyabhama said that she had visited the plant and had spoken to the management, who had promised to reduce the work hours to eight hours per day as per the Factories Act. “The company had promised to resolve the