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Chennai: Apple puts Foxconn’s iPhone assembling unit ‘on probation’ over poor facilities to staff

Apple's action followed a Tamil Nadu government statement on Saturday, asking Foxconn to improve the working and living conditions of contract employees attached to their operations in Chennai.

By: Express News Service | Chennai |
Updated: December 29, 2021 8:50:56 pm
According to Reuters, a spokesperson for Foxconn Wednesday said it was restructuring its local management team, taking immediate steps to improve facilities.

A major iPhone assembling plant in Chennai has been placed under ‘probation’ by Apple following findings that the unit, owned by Foxconn, had lapses in ensuring quality living conditions for its employees.

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

Sources familiar with the latest developments said the action from Apple came after they conducted a separate investigation and audit of standards at Foxconn.

When contacted, an Apple spokesperson told The Indian Express that they hold their suppliers accountable to the “highest standards in the industry” and regularly conduct assessments to ensure compliance.

“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,” the spokesperson said.

According to Reuters, a spokesperson for Foxconn Wednesday said it was restructuring its local management team, taking immediate steps to improve facilities and added that all employees would continue to be paid while it makes necessary improvements to restart operations.

Workers of the unit had been agitating recently over their poor amenities. The turning point was a bout of food poisoning reported among dozens of employees and their hospitalisation. After employees went on a protest that affected traffic on the Chennai-Bangalore highway, the state government and the district administration stepped in for negotiations.

In 2020, Foxconn, a Taiwanese electronic equipment major, had pledged to invest over Rs 7,000 crore in expanding facilities in Tamil Nadu.

While Apple has not clarified what “probation” for the unit would mean, according to Reuters, when the firm put another supplier, Wistron Corp, on probation after unrest at its Karnataka plant last year, it said it would not award the company new business until it addressed the way workers were treated.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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