Apple Parts Supplier Foxconn’s Chennai Plant Shut On Poor Worker Living Conditions

iPhone maker Apple Inc. (AAPL.O) said on Wednesday that it had put on probation the Chennai factory of iPhone assembler Foxconn after reports that certain worker dormitories and dining rooms did not match with the required standards. The phone maker did not elaborate on the terms of the probation.

The company’s actions are a result of protests, which took place at the factory after more than 250 women, who work at the Foxconn premises and live in the dormitory, fell ill due to food poisoning. According to Reuters, more than 150 women were hospitalized.

The plant, located at the Sriperumbudur town near Chennai, employs about 17,000 people. It shut operations on December 18 and both Apple and Foxconn don’t know when it will re-open.

Following the incident, Taiwan’s Foxconn spokesperson said that the company was reorganizing its on-grounds team and taking immediate action to make available proper living conditions for the workers. The company said that during the period the plant is shut, all employees will continue to receive their salary.

An Apple spokesperson said that independent auditors had been sent to assess conditions at the dormitories “following recent concerns about food safety and accommodation conditions at Foxconn Sriperumbudur.” The company added that certain dormitory and dining rooms that were not in the factory premises, were not found to have meet the requirements and hence Apple was working with the supplier to ensure that all facilities are in place once the factory re-opens.

A senior government official said about the matter that was co-operating with the state government on the amenities given to workers. “Once they get clearances from the government, workers will be inducted and the company will resume production,” he added. The plant re-opening will most likely happen on Monday.

Apple will not be affected much by the closure of the Chennai plant, which makes iPhone 12 models and has started trial production of the iPhone 13, analysts have said. However, in the long run, the factory is important to the iPhone maker as the U.S company reduced dependency on China for its different parts.

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