A top official for the state of Tamil Nadu told Reuters that a week-long closure at a Foxconn (2317. TW) iPhone manufacturing in India at the centre of a widespread food poisoning incident will be extended by three days.
The factory, which employs 17,000 people, was scheduled to resume partial operations on Monday, but will now begin production with 1,000 workers on Thursday, according to the official, who also stated that the state administration had completed checks of workers lodgings.
More than 250 women who work at the plant and reside in one of the hostels were treated for food poisoning last week, prompting protests. The police arrested some of the protestors, but they were eventually released. The incident has brought attention to the living circumstances of the factory workers, the majority of whom are women, who live in hostels near the factory in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
According to the official, a meeting was called for the Taiwanese contract maker for Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and other big tech companies, as well as 11 of its contractors, including those who provide food and living quarters. The official refused to be identified since he was not authorized to speak on the subject.
According to the source, the state government ordered Foxconn to assess services offered to workers, including power backup at the hostels, food, and water, and the Directorate Of Industrial Safety And Health also advocated offering leisure amenities like a TV, a library, and indoor games.
Foxconn has warned state regulators that it “ramped up production too soon” and that it will progressively renovate workers’ facilities before returning to full capacity, according to a different government source.
Representatives from Foxconn and Apple could not be reached for comment right away. On Monday morning, the gates of the facility, which is located on the outskirts of Chennai, were open and some vehicles were moving in and out, but the area was otherwise vacant.
Analysts predict that the shutdown of the factory, which produces iPhone 12 models and has begun trial production of the iPhone 13, will have a minor impact on Apple. However, the factory is important in the long run as Apple strives to reduce its reliance on China’s supply chain in the face of trade concerns between the US and China.
Apple is currently battling with pandemic-related supply chain problems that have hampered output. The company warned in October that the impact of supply chain issues would grow during the holiday season.
The Foxconn strike is the second in a year involving an Apple supplier factory in India. Thousands of contract workers at a facility controlled by Wistron Corp (3231. TW) vandalized equipment and vehicles in December 2020 over alleged wage non-payment, causing $60 million in damages.
Since beginning iPhone production in India in 2017, Apple, based in Cupertino, California, has placed a large bet on the country. Foxconn, Wistron, and another supplier, Pegatron (4938. TW), have pledged a total of $900 million to produce iPhones in India over the next five years.