Phone maker Oppo sacks Chinese employee for ‘throwing’ Indian flag in dustbin

Updated on Mar 30, 2017 08:09 AM IST

Mobile phone maker Oppo has decided to keep its assembling unit shut till Friday after a Chinese employee allegedly tore the Indian flag and threw it in the dustbin, triggering protests.

Over 30 employees protested again outside the assembling unit on Wednesday morning amid tight security.(Sohil Sehran/HT Photo)
Over 30 employees protested again outside the assembling unit on Wednesday morning amid tight security.(Sohil Sehran/HT Photo)
Hindustan Times | BySohil Sehran & Anirban Ghoshal, Noida/new Delhi

Mobile phone maker Oppo has sacked a Chinese employee who had tore the Indian flag and threw it in the dustbin after protests by locals and workers in the company.

“Based on the recent incident and after thorough investigation with the concerned authorities, we have found that a worker discarded the Indian Flag from the table during regular external material check. OPPO India regrets this unfortunate incident and reaffirms that this is an individual’s behavior that in no way represents our company’s position. We have zero tolerance for such matters and have taken strict action in terminating the individual and continue working very closely with the authorities on the matter,” Oppo India said in a statement here.

Oppo, India’s fourth-largest handset maker, had shut down its assembling unit at Noida Sector 63 till Wednesday evening. However, it has now decided to keep it closed till Friday. Employees have been informed to report for work on Friday morning. However, other units at the facility – supply, packaging and import units are still open.

The Chinese mobile company is yet to confirm details about how long the factory will remain closed. However, operations shutting down couldn’t have come a t a worse time for the company as it tries to gain more market share alongside its Chinese rivals such as Xiaomi, Gionee and Vivo.

Over 30 employees protested again outside the factory on Wednesday morning amid tight security. The protest continued for 20 minutes.They demanded that the Chinese man should be arrested without further delay. Some of the employees who met the management, also quoted the company representatives as saying that Chinese employee has been sacked.

Police said the investigations will take time to be completed. Ajay Kumar, circle officer, Noida police said, “We are not focusing on whether the employee has been sacked or not. Once we are done with investigations and find who is guilty, we will summon the accused to join the investigation.”

According to international market research firm, International Data Corporation (IDC), Oppo is the fourth largest handset-maker with 8.6% market share. The company had started operations here in 2014.

Oppo had to invest a lot in advertisement to get to the fourth spot. The company not only sponsored the ICC T20 World Cup but also is now the official sponsor of Indian cricket team jersey. Oppo paid Rs 1,079 crore to the BCCI for a five-year deal, outbidding Vivo mobiles’ Rs 768 crore bid.

Shutting down of operations is bound to impact the company as it will struggle to keep up with high local demand. During the launch of the Noida factory, the company had said that it will have the ability to manufacture 10 million handsets a year and 27,398 smartphones a day. If the factory is shut for four days, then the company will lose out on making nearly one lakh phones hitting margins for the quarter.

Industry experts also feared that the incident may have a negative impact on the brand and affect sales during the quarter.

The Oppo employees, who met the management on Wednesday, also demanded that they should have eight-hour work shifts and have a minimum monthly salary of Rs 15,000. The employees also demanded a compulsory holiday on Sunday.

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