Protest-hit Foxconn factory at Tamil Nadu resumes operations

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After nearly a month, workers have finally returned to Apple contract manufacturer Foxconn’s protest-hit Chennai factory, paving the way for the resumption of operations, in a small way.

The plant was closed on December 18 last year after protests erupted over the unhygienic living conditions of workers at the dormitories following an incident of food poisoning that affected over 200 employees.

Sources in the Tamil Nadu government told FE that workers, though in small numbers, have resumed work on Wednesday. Around 100 workers have come for work and it will take some more time to get the full attendance of the entire workforce, numbering around 15,000, sources at the factory said. Foxconn has been making iPhone 12 and testing the production of iPhone 13 at the facility.

Tamil Nadu industry minister Thangam Thennarasu said the issue was resolved amicably and expressed happiness over the resumption of operations of the Foxconn plant at Sriperumbudur, near Chennai. He hoped that the factory would continue to function without any issues.

Thennarasu said that chief minister MK Stalin had intervened in the matter and urged Foxconn and all relevant government departments to ensure that the workers were provided with adequate facilities, following which Foxconn assured to take care of the matter.

“This shows the CM’s commitment towards the industry development and the welfare of women. Since CM is involved in this issue directly, the factory is able to restart its production so early. I believe the factory will operate and handle everything kindly in future,” he said.

In a statement issued recently, Foxconn said they had implemented a range of corrective actions to ensure that concerns over hygiene issues are not raised again.iPhone maker Apple recently said the workers at Foxconn’s plant at Sriperumbudur will return to work gradually. It said the operations are to be resumed in a step-by-step manner at the factory as hostels and dormitories get ready and certified as per local requirements by the government and Apple’s audits.

Apple had said for the past several weeks, teams from the company along with independent auditors, have been working with Foxconn to ensure a comprehensive set of corrective actions are implemented in the offsite accommodations and dining rooms at Sriperumbudur.

Following the food poisoning incident, the Tamil Nadu government intervened and instructed the labour department to ensure living standards. Apple had put the Sriperumbudur factory Foxconn on probation while an assessment revealed the substandard living conditions. It promptly announced that it will ensure strict standards are met before the unit reopens.