Violent riot at Indian iPhone factory over unpaid wages

Wistron Riot
Wistron Riot (Image credit: TOI Bengaluru)

What you need to know

  • A violent riot has broken out at an iPhone factory in India over allegations of unpaid wages.
  • Employees can be seen on video attacking a Wistron iPhone plant in Bengaluru, images show broken glass, overturned cars and fires being started.

Update, December 14 (8:25 am ET): Estimates put the cost of the damage at 4.38B rupees, or around $60M. As a result of the destruction caused at the plant, the assembly of iPhones has now been suspended.

A violent riot has broken out at an iPhone factory in India over allegations of unpaid wages.

Video shared by TOI Bengaluru shows loud shouting, and employees smashing the glass front of the Wistron factory. Images also show overturned cars as well as signs being burned.

According to reports, nearly 2,000 employees who had just finished a night shift at the plan went on a complete rampage, destroying furniture and factory assembly units, attempting to set fire to vehicles. Police officers attended the crazy scene.

A second video shows employees burning signs, before dispersing as the police arrive.

According to The Times of India, sources claim the violence was triggered by anger over unpaid wages and the lowering of salaries. One engineering graduate was reportedly promised Rs 21,000 per month (only $285), but that this had since been reduced to Rs 16,000, then Rs 12,000 in recent months. According to the report, on Friday night employees discussing their salaries alleged that many had received as little as Rs 500 for their work (less than $7) and that the anger had escalated to violence by the time the night shift had ended.

According to one outlet, the problems had been festering for several weeks. The report further claims 80 people have been arrested in relation to the incident.

According to ETTelecom, the plant is located in Karnataka, around 60km from Bengaluru. The site is a 43-acre industrial area, and Wistron was allocated the plot from the government following promises of significant investment and the provision of more than 10,000 jobs.

iMore has reached out to Wistron and Apple for comment, and we will update the story with any response.

Apple has invested heavily in manufacturing in India over the course of 2020, driven by the COVID-19 pandemic which highlighted a need to diversify its supply chain. Enticed by generous government subsidies, manufacturing partners of Apple including Wistron, as well as Foxconn and Pegatron have set up manufacturing bases in the country. Earlier this year it emerged that the iPhone 11 was being made in the country, the first time that a flagship iPhone had been made outside of China.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9