Apple supplier Foxconn’s manufacturing facility in Chennai, India, was forced to halt operations after multiple food poisoning incidents and an employee protest. Now, the reopening has been delayed again due to poor living conditions for the workers.
The Foxconn plant was closed for a week due to the food poisoning cases among the workers, and the closure is expected to extend by another three days or more. The facility employed around 17,000 people and was due to resume normal functioning on Monday, but Reuters reports that it will restart work on Thursday with just 1,000 staffers.
The state government has reportedly inspected the workers’ hostels near the factory. Foxconn and 11 of its contractors met the government officials, according to an anonymous officer familiar with the matter. The officials instructed the contract manufacturer to review the amenities such as power backup, food, and water for the workers, who are primarily women. Additionally, the Directorate of Industrial Safety and Health suggested equipping the hostel with recreational facilities such as a TV, library, and indoor games.
Last week protests ensued at the factory after over 250 staffers had to be treated for food poisoning. Police rounded up around 70 protesting women on Saturday but later released them. Besides, police arrested some of the 22 men involved.
This is the second major hiccup at Apple’s suppliers’ facilities in India in a year. Back in December last year, around 2,000 staffers at a Wistron plant that manufactured iPhones rioted and destroyed property worth approximately $60 million. The riot was sparked by workers not getting the pay they were promised when they joined. Apple put Wistron on probation when state authorities found that the supplier had violated labor laws.