C: freestocks – Unsplash

Over 100 Indian nationals have been arrested near the city of Bengaluru in southern India following riots to claim unpaid wages at a Taiwanese iPhone factory.

CCTV footage hitting social media over the weekend made headlines across the world with the riots in the Wistron Infocomm facility showing internal fixtures and fittings being broken, before a car was set alight outside the plant.

A spokesperson for the Indian employees of Wistron said they had not been paid in full for four months, adding that they are also being told to put in extra hours at the plant.

Taiwan based Wistron, a one time part of computer giant Acer, and employer of around 80,000 people around the world responded by saying it “pledged to follow local labour (laws)” according to reports.

In what may be seen as something of an irony, migrant workers in Taiwan, meanwhile marched in the nation’s capital, Taipei on Sunday, demanding they be included under the nation’s minimum wage laws, and get two days off each week according to Taiwanese government media.

The demonstrations also come just weeks after the treatment of migrant workers on Taiwanese fishing vessels made headlines around the world for being comparable to slave labour.

Thousands of migrant workers are typically denied the same employment rights as local Taiwanese when working in Taiwan.

A statement by the company to the AFP news agency made public overnight made no reference to the complaints of unpaid wages, and as of Monday morning, some branches of the Taiwanese media are claiming the reasons behind the riots are not yet clear.

The statement from the company also said that “the incident was caused by people of unknown identities from outside who intruded into and damaged its facility with unclear intentions”.

Wistron went on to say they intended to resume plant operations as soon as is feasible.

C: freestocks – Unsplash

It is understood the riots broke out Saturday as a shift change was taking place, when, with 2000 workers departing the facility, hundreds broke off to destroy the areas used by company management.

In a high-tech plant with secure entry and exit points producing iPhones for Apple, this would suggest the “people of unknown identities from outside” claimed by the company at least warrants further investigation.

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Online claims since Saturday are now leaning towards a mud-slinging contest breaking out between local trade unionists and regional government officials, while Apple has remained silent according to the BBBC, although the company is known to have said previously that “it takes working conditions at supplier sites very seriously.”

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