Apple Supplier Flex’s Workers Stage One-Day Strike at Tamil Nadu Plant

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Hundreds of workers at a manufacturing plant of Apple supplier Flex in India’s Tamil Nadu state staged a one-day strike on Friday, demanding higher wages for the next three years and the recognition of a union.

Many electronics manufacturers in India, including Foxconn and Pegatron, lack a union, while automobile factories have higher levels of organising, according to labour welfare workers.

At Flex, unhappy over wages and policies, including tour allowances and medical leaves, all permanent workers, about 750, joined the Centre of Indian Trade Union, said union secretary E. Muthukumar.

He added Flex, which makes chargers for Apple, was unwilling to recognise the union at the plant, which employs roughly 4,000 people, including contractors who did not join the strike.

“Our values-based culture supports fair and competitive compensation for work, and open and transparent communication. Our doors are open and we encourage employees to share their perspectives,” Flex said in a statement.

Workers will return to the factory for the third and final shift, Muthukumar said, adding the union will decide on the next steps depending on the outcome of future negotiations.

“As house rents, education fees and other expenses have increased, it is not possible to sustain a livelihood with the current salary,” the union had informed Flex in a letter reviewed by Reuters.

As of March 2023, Flex, which also manufactures products for Apple in the United States and China, employed nearly 172,000 people globally, including contractors.

It is unclear how much the strike affected production, even as Indian laws prohibit the employment of contractors in core activities in most circumstances.

This is the latest unrest at an Apple supplier in India in recent years after food poisoning among workers triggered a strike at Foxconn and workers at a Wistron plant protested against alleged wage underpayment.

© Thomson Reuters 2024


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