India: Nearly 70 workers & activists arrested in protests over poor working & living conditions at Foxconn iPhone factory
"TN: Underpaid and Exploited Foxconn Workers Burst in Protest After Workers Fell ill", 23 December 2021
Around 3,000 women workers of Bharat FIH, a subsidiary of FIH Mobile and Foxconn Technology Group, blocked the Chennai-Bengaluru highway for more than 8 hours from midnight of December 17 in Sriperumbudur.
The protest erupted after the health conditions of 159 workers were unknown who fell due to food poisoning on December 15. Despite seeking clarity on their colleagues’ health conditions, the workers were not appraised by the authorities, including the principal employer, contractors, health and labour department officials.
With uncertainty continuing for more than two days, rumours started spreading about the death of two workers, and the workers resorted to the road blockade. The officials...arrived by noon on December 18 to hold talks.
The protests were withdrawn later after the district administration released details of the hospitalisation of workers, but the...working conditions, exploitation and massive contractualisation came to light.
Twenty-two activists, including leaders of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), were put behind bars for extending support to the workers and visiting them. The CITU leaders have been granted bail and are expected to be released on December 23.
Sixty-seven workers and activists were detained by Tamil Nadu police during the protest and were held captive for more than 24 hours. The workers and trade union leaders alleged that the political clout of the contractors was the reason for police action.
Durga Devi, a former worker, alleged overcrowding in the hostel rooms and insufficient food.
"... In a small room, 15 of us were made to stay. The food has always been poor, but our complaints were never listened to," she said.
The hostel has been hired by a contractor since the college was not operating the hostel citing the pandemic.
"The employers use this another technique to loot the workers. The workers are paid wages after the cost of this is being deducted. The workers are kept under control in such hostels. Usually, the employers obtain permission for a hostel to accommodate 50 and admit 500," Kannan said.
NewsClick could not contact Foxconn for their comments due to the unavailability of contact details since the website was inaccessible.