Foxconn workers have been protesting since Foxconn India Pvt Ltd shut down its production since December 22, 2014. At stake is the livelihood of over 1700 permanent workers most of whom have been working since the inception of the plant in 2006. The workers continued their struggle by conducting a one day hunger fast in front of Chepauk on 27th of January, 2015. The fast was supported by CITU, the official union recognized by the management and LPF, the union earlier recognized by the management.
Since the announcement of closure, Foxconn has announced VRS settlement of Rs 2,80,000 in its first round and Rs 2,30,000 in its second round. While over 500 workers have opted for VRS, the majority of the workers have been unequivocal about their demand for a livelihood. While Foxconn has cited the closure of its customer Nokia as the reason to end production in Sriperumbudur, the workers refute that in the last 4 months, their production was being exported to Nokia plant in Vietnam. Stating that Foxconn was not dependent only on Nokia for producing mobile parts and that several major brands including Samsung, Sony and Apple were its customers, they asked why then cannot Foxconn continue its plant.
They also stated that a FIH plant was running in Sunguvarchathiram with 500 workers and producing set top boxes. Confirming this, Kannan, Kanchipuram District Secretary of CITU said “Foxconn India Pvt Ltd does not plan to leave India. They have created this new unit called Foxconn India Holding under which these permanent workers have been put and they are closing only this unit. We are asking the management to place these workers in other units of the company”. Kannan also stated that Foxconn has acquired land in Varanavasi, Kanchipuram stating their intention to expand their manufacturing in India.
The workers have been assembling in front of the gate every week since then, demanding the opening of the plant and their livelihood to be restored. The workers have been arrested by the police even as trilateral negotiations have been happening between Foxconn India Workers Union, State Labour Department and the management. The Labour Department is said to have asked Foxconn to keep the plant open for workers to show their attendance as the management has not followed due process in shutting the plant.
For majority of the workers, the salary they draw between Rs 7500 to Rs 15000 is crucial to maintain their family economy.