Apple has put the southern India factory of Foxconn on probation following protests from workers over subpar food and accommodation conditions, a concern both the firms acknowledged and pledged to improve.
The iPhone maker didn’t say how long the probation will last, but an Apple spokesperson in India told TC that the firm “will ensure our strict standards are met before the facility reopens.”
Foxconn’s factory in the state of Tamil Nadu employs about 17,000 people. Protests erupted in the factory last week after hundreds of women who work at the plant and live in one of the hostels had to be treated for food poisoning and more than 100 were hospitalized, according to earlier local media reports.
The state government also intervened, and had asked Foxconn to review services provided to the workers.
Apple said it dispatched independent auditors to assess the situation after concerns about food safety and accommodation conditions were raised.
“We found that some of the remote dormitory accommodations and dining rooms being used for employees do not meet our requirements and we are working with the supplier to ensure a comprehensive set of corrective actions are rapidly implemented,” the spokesperson said.
Foxconn said it is investigating the recent issues and has found that “some offsite dormitory facilities do not meet the required standards.” A spokesperson told TC: “We are very sorry for the issue our employees experienced and are taking immediate steps to enhance the facilities and services we provide at the remote dormitory accommodations.”
The Taiwanese giant, a key assembly partner for Apple, said it is also restructuring its local management team and management systems “to ensure we can achieve and maintain the high standards that are needed.”
“All employees will continue to be paid while we make the necessary improvements before restarting our operations and we will continue to provide support for our employees as they return to work,” the spokesperson added.
This isn’t the first time Apple, which has expanded its local manufacturing efforts in India in recent years, has had to grapple with an issue of this kind in the world’s second largest smartphone market. Last year, it placed Wistron, another key assembly partner, on probation following worker riots over poor working conditions and unpaid wages.