Apple supplier Flex employees go on one-day strike at Tamil Nadu plant

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

According to labor welfare activists, many electronics manufacturers in India, including Foxconn and Pegatron, lack unions, while automobile factories have high levels of organization.

In a flex, unhappy with salaries and policies including tour allowances and medical leaves, all permanent employees, around 750, joined the Indian Trade Union Centre, union secretary E. Muthukumar said.

He said Flex, which makes chargers for Apple, was unwilling to recognize the union at the plant, which employs about 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.

Muthukumar said workers would return to the factory for the third and final shift, and the union would decide on the next step based on the outcome of future talks.

“As house rent, education fees and other expenses have increased, it is no longer possible to maintain livelihood with the current salary,” the union informed Flex in a letter reviewed by Reuters.

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

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

It is the latest unrest at an Apple supplier in India in recent years, after food poisoning among workers led to a strike at Foxconn and workers at a Wistron plant protested against alleged underpayment of wages.

© Thomson Reuters 2024


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