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Lapses in staff living conditions: Apple puts iPhone plant on probation

Apple’s action followed a Tamil Nadu government statement, on Saturday, asking Foxconn to come up with measures to improve the working conditions and quality of living of contract employees attached to their operations near Chennai. 

By: Express News Service | Chennai |
December 30, 2021 4:15:47 am
Foxconn plant at Sriperumbudur. (Reuters)

One of the major assembling units of iPhone 12, in Sriperumbudur, near Chennai, has been placed under ‘probation’ by Apple, following findings that the Foxconn-owned unit had lapses in ensuring quality of living conditions for its employees.

Apple’s action followed a Tamil Nadu government statement, on Saturday, asking Foxconn to come up with measures to improve the working conditions and quality of living of contract employees attached to their operations near Chennai.

The government intervention was in the wake of a protest and several complaints by employees of Foxconn, a Taiwanese electronic equipment major, about the poor amenities and denial of some basic employee rights at hostels and work. The turning point was a bout of food poisoning reported among dozens of employees, which led to hospitalisation. After employees went on a protest that affected traffic on the Chennai-Bengaluru highway, the state government and the district administration stepped in for negotiations.

In 2020 Foxconn had pledged to invest over Rs 7,000 crore in expanding facilities.

Sources familiar with the Foxconn operations and the latest developments said the action had come from Apple after they conducted a separate investigation and audit of standards at Foxconn and other facilities.

An Apple spokesperson told The Indian Express that they hold their suppliers accountable to the highest standards in the industry and regularly conduct assessments.

“Following recent concerns about food safety and accommodation conditions at Foxconn Sriperumbudur, we dispatched independent auditors to undertake additional detailed assessments. We found that some of the remote dormitory accommodations and dining rooms being used for employees do not meet our requirements and we are working with the supplier to ensure a comprehensive set of corrective actions are rapidly implemented,” the spokesperson said. “Foxconn’s Sriperumbudur facility has been placed on probation and we will ensure our strict standards are met before the facility reopens. We will continue to monitor conditions closely.”

A Foxconn statement said: “We have been investigating recent issues at our Sriperumbudur facility in Tamil Nadu and have found that some offsite dormitory facilities do not meet the required standards. We are very sorry for the issue our employees experienced and are taking immediate steps to enhance the facilities and services we provide at the remote dormitory accommodations. We are also restructuring our local management team and our management systems to ensure we can achieve and maintain high standards that are needed.”

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