Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Indian Workers Ambush iPhone Sweatshop to Protest Unpaid Wages

Workers in the southern city of Bangalore stormed an iPhone manufacturing plant on Saturday, breaking windows and turning over vehicles. They demand their unpaid wages, as well as better wages and working conditions.

Facebook Twitter Share
Credits: Reuters

On Saturday, enraged Indian workers stormed an iPhone manufacturing plant after their night-shift. The Times of India called it a “rampage.” Workers at the factory, owned by the Taiwanese company Wistron Infocomm Manufacturing, turned over vehicles and broke windows at the facility, located on the outskirts of the southern city of Bangalore.

The workers say they haven’t been paid in four months and that they have been forced to work overtime, working up to 12 hour shifts to produce iPhones that they cannot afford.. According to the Times of India, the factory has about 2,000 workers, most of whom participated in the protest after the night shift. “Mobs were seen breaking glass panes and doors,” the TOI reports, turning cars topsy-turvy and attacking the offices of senior executives.”

One worker told the TOI: “While an engineering graduate was promised Rs 21,000 ($286)per month, his/her salary had reduced to Rs 16,000 and, subsequently, to Rs 12,000 in the recent months. Non-engineering graduates’ monthly salary had reduced to Rs 8,000 ($108). The salary had reduced to Rs 8,000. The salary amount being credited to our accounts have been reducing and it was frustrating to see this.”

On Friday night the employees started discussing their salaries while working on the floor. Some claimed to have received only Rs.500 ($6 and 79 cents) in their bank accounts. The anger turned to rage by the time the shift ended. The protest was repressed, and about 100 workers were arrested and damages are estimated at $7 million

Apple began assembling iPhones in India in 2017, in large part due to ability to hyper-exploit Indian workers. However, it has a 1 percent share of the total smartphone market in the country, since the iPhones are too expensive for nearly all Indian consumers.

The Wistron corporation had received 43 acres in the industrial area of Narasapura from the Indian government, with the promise of providing employment and investment. A spokesman for the Wistron group said, “We have complied with the law and are helping the authorities with their investigation.” From the United States, Apple said it is “ dedicated to ensuring everyone in our supply chain is treated with dignity and respect.” Of course, that “dignity” doesn’t include a living wage or dignified working conditions. 

The secretary of the All Indian Trade Union Congress said that the blame lies with “the brutal exploitation of workers” and the dire conditions in the iPhone sweatshop. 

This workers’ explosion is part of a general uprising taking place in India. The largest general strike in history took place just a few weeks ago. And mass farmers protests have taken place and intensified over the last month. On Monday, farmers’ mobilizations cut off access roads to the Indian capital. 

The government of nationalist Narendra Modi is promoting labor laws that seek to cut wages and benefits to workers. For years, Modi has been the candidate of Indian capital. Through his tenure, from giving land allocations to capitalists, opening up Indian markets to multinationals and chipping away at labor protections, he has seeked to pass a series of neoliberal reforms to favor the industrial employers. Modi also seeks to destroy India’s agricultural system, opening it to large agribusiness transnationals. About 500 million people work directly and indirectly in the agricultural sector, and 50 percent of the population of 1.3 billion people depend on this sector for their survival.

The ultra-right wing Modi government has been developing a strong nationalist, xenophobic, and racist policies against Muslims. Taking advantage of the confrontation with China, Modi is also trying to weld together a reactionary “national unity” to advance an attack on the workers. The coronavirus, in turn, has hit India hard; it now has the world’s second-highest number of cases and deaths.

These explosive demonstrations by the workers of the city and the countryside show the Indian government’s mounting difficulties in attacking the historic conquests of the country’s working class and agricultural workers.

Facebook Twitter Share

La Izquierda Diario Argentina

Our Argentinian sister site, part of the international network of La Izquierda Diario


China’s Rise, ‘Diminished Dependency,’ and Imperialism in Times of World Disorder

In this broad-ranging interview, originally published in LINKS, Trotskyist Fraction member Esteban Mercatante discusses how recent global shifts in processes of capital accumulation have contributed to China’s rise, the new (and old) mechanisms big powers use to plunder the Global South, and its implications for anti-imperialist and working-class struggles today.

Esteban Mercatante

September 22, 2023

Strike for Wages at Chevron-Australia Could Hit 5 Percent of Global Gas Production

Chevron workers in Western Australia are escalating a strike at two of the world's largest gas facilities. They are demanding wage rises and better working conditions.

Arthur Nicola

September 14, 2023

The Roots of the Rebellion at Foxconn

Jenny Chan is a researcher and professor at the Polytechnic University of Hong Kong. She is co-author of the book Dying for an iPhone. She spoke with La Izquerda Diario about the causes of the rebellion by workers at the Foxconn plant in Zhengzhou, China.

Josefina L. Martínez

December 7, 2022
Participants in a memorial ceremony lay flowers to pay respect to a deceased 23-year-old worker in front of the SPC headquarters in Seoul, Thursday. She died in an accident at a baking factory in Pyeongtaek affiliated with SPC on Saturday.

How Workers and Socialists are Responding to a Workplace Death at One of South Korea’s Largest Food Manufacturers

Following a workplace death at SPC group, one of the largest food manufacturers in South Korea, a consumer boycott quickly gained traction. Organized workers and revolutionary socialists are playing a role in this struggle.

Samuel Karlin

November 12, 2022


Black UAW workers, a black-and-white image, holding signs that say "UAW ON STRIKE."

To Achieve Black Liberation, Class Independence Is Key

A united, working-class party fighting oppression is our only hope for Black liberation.

Tristan Taylor

February 29, 2024
A banner reads "Real Wages Or We Strike" at a rally for CUNY, which is experiencing cuts from Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul.

CUNY Faculty and Staff Have Gone One Year Without a Contract — It’s Time to Strike

CUNY workers have been without a new contract for a full year and the university has yet to make any economic offers. It's time to take action.

Olivia Wood

February 29, 2024
Aaron Bushnell, who self-immolated in protest of the genocide in Palestine.

Aaron Bushnell’s Cry of Despair in the Face of Genocide

The media and international community was profoundly affected by the self-immolation of U.S. soldier Aaron Bushnell in protest against the genocide in Gaza. His death and desperate act of protest starkly shows the cruelty and brutality of U.S. Imperialism and Zionism.

Enzo Tresso

February 28, 2024
Florida governor Ron DeSantis stands at a podium that reds "Higher Education Reform"

U.S. Higher Education Is Being Gutted, but We Can Fight Back

Across the United States, higher education is being gutted through program eliminations and budget cuts. We must prepare to fight these attacks with everything we have.

Olivia Wood

February 28, 2024