Final report of complaint in India at a factory supplying Nudie Jeans, Mini Rodini, Manroof and Continental – April 2016
In August 2013, two workers were asked by an engineer at the factory to repair a pipe. To reach the pipe, they climbed on a chair that collapsed. One of the workers fractured a hand. The other worker, the complainant, fractured his spine. After the accident, management paid medical expenses for both workers. The workers were allegedly asked to sign documents in Tamil, a language the complainant does not speak, and to not report the complaint with the police. In December 2013, FWF became aware of the accident, but no case for non-compliance.
In January 2016 one of the workers called the FWF line to explain that his condition had worsened and was unable to work more than 12 days a month in a different area of the factory. He could not show medical documents because they are allegedly in the hands of management. The worker himself only has an appointment letter and an identification card. Due to his health problems, the worker wants to resign and has asked management for compensation payment, which was denied.
FWF first involved Nudie Jeans, and later the other brands. After contact with the factory it was established that all medical bills had been paid so far, and the worker continued in employment during his treatment. The worker fell under the Indian Employee’s Compensation Act. This meant that the worker was entitled to compensation regardless of the insurance situation of the worker. Also, the factory should have informed the police about the accident.
The worker received outstanding compensation. From now on, the factory must ensure that workers in similar cases are compensated according to law, and notify the authorities wherever necessary. Also, workers must receive a copy of legal documents in a language they can understand.
Final report of complaint in Bangladesh at factory that supplies Fristad Kansas & Sols – January 2016
On 13 January 2016 FWF’s local complaints handler received a complaint from 29 employees recently under suspension of the factory since 6 December 2015.
According to the complainant, factory management had allegedly misbehaved by, for example, denying access to drinking water during working hours, severe verbal abuse, unpaid overtime and unfair dismissal of a floor level management staff. No improvements were made after addressing the issues to the management. The workers decided to protest against the management in November 2015.
This case is related to the labour standards of FWF’s Code of Labour Practices ‘Payment of a living wage’, ‘Reasonable working hours’, ‘Occupational health and Safety’ and ‘Legally binding employment relationship’.
FWF informed Fristads Kansas Group and Solo Invest S.A.S about the complaint. Fristads Kansas Group discussed this case with the management of the factory during a visit in February 2016.
The factory conducted an investigation. The internal investigation showed that the complainants had stirred up unrest among the workers and damaged factory properties during a protest. The factory concluded that it was justified that the workers were fired and decided not to drop the case against the complainants. The factory was open for further investigation by FWF.
The complainants disagree with the findings of the factory management and have decided to seek justice through the local authority, labour bureau of the district government. FWF and the complainants agreed to wait for the investigation and conclusion of the local authority. At the moment no investigation is set up by FWF.
On Sunday 24 April, it will be three years since the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Savar, Bangladesh. The tragedy initiated a flood of negative reporting about the fashion industry. The message: clothing brands are only interested in rapidly changing collections, and not in the seamstresses who make them possible. (more…)
Final REPORT COMPLAINT IN India AT FACTORY SUPPLYING Nudie jeans
In June 2015, six weeks after an audit, FWF received a complaint through its local complaints handler in India from a worker from a factory supplying Nudie Jeans. The complainant claimed that the factory has not paid last month’s salary to several workers, some of whom left the factory because of this. According to the complainant, those workers were threatened by management not to complain to anyone. The worker also stated that there was verbal abuse, forced overtime and that during the FWF audit, the factory hid the fact that it operates hostels for its workers.
During the investigation, the supplier admitted that there had been some cases of late payments in the past months due to outstanding payments of a non-FWF member. It did not, initially, respond to the other allegations. The investigation showed that there were grounds for most of the allegations, though most of them could not be proven definitively. A remediation plan was drafted, which included a root cause analysis of overtime by the factory and Nudie Jeans together, as well as implementing a process for increasing wages.
In January 2016, FWF verified that all complainants had received due payment. Further remediation will be verified at the next FWF audit at the factory, and during the next Brand Performance Check at Nudie Jeans.
Final REPORT OF COMPLAINT IN Vietnam AT FACTORY THAT SUPPLIES Deuter
On 14 November 2014, a news report was forwarded to FWF’s contact person for the member brand. An Australian NGO, Viet Labor, released a report after investigating several issues at the production sites after a strike. Workers were asking for better payment of overtime, better food quality and salary increases.
According to the report, workers were threatened if they spoke to outsiders, they faced toilet restrictions, unhygienic meals, late payments, and incorrect overtime payments, among other issues. FWF did off-site interviews, and concluded that the member should contribute to remediation focused on toilet restrictions, payment systems, overtime hours and canteen hygiene. Also, there was evidence of lack of communicaiton channels or internal grievance mechanisms to air grievances. FWF also suggested conducting a factory training.
Intermediate report of complaint in Bangladesh at a factory supplying Stanley & Stella – February 2015
On 1 February FWF’s received a complaint from an individual claiming to be a worker at a factory supplying Stanley and Stella. The complaint related to ‘Safe and healthy working conditions’, which is part of FWF’s Code of Labour Practices.
The complainant claimed that two workers reported chest pain to the factory infirmary during working hours on 25 and 28 January 2015. Both of them died shortly after.Since 31 January 2015, more workers reported symptoms including headache, chest pain, vomiting and abdominal pain. Several hundreds of workers demonstrated in front of the factory on 2 February after knowing the incidents.
FWF has informed Stanley & Stella about the complaint. Although Stanley & Stella is in the process of phasing out the supplier, production was recent enough that agreed that Stanley & Stella has agreed to assist with investigating the case. FWF is preparing a further investigation of the situation and possibilities for appropriate responses.
Intermediate report of complaint in Bangladesh at factory that supplies Takko
On 17 May FWF’s complaints handler received a complaint from 12 workers, working for a factory supplying Takko Fashion. The complaint related to the labour standards ‘Payment of a living wage’ and ‘Occupational health and safety, with regard to harassment’ which are part of FWF’s Code of Labour Practices.
Workers from the finishing section claimed that the factory did not pay minimum wages. According to the complainants, they needed to work overtime, which was unpaid. The factory did not provide payslips. In addition, the workers said that they would be under a lot of pressure from the management or even got fired if they refuse to do the unpaid overtime. There was verbal abuse reported to women and physical abuse towards men. The factory management responded that all allegations were false. When FWF investigated, it was found that verbal abuse with sexually explicit profanity was common in the factory. Occasionally workers reported physical harassment such as pulling hair, pushing and light slapping. Minimum wages were paid to sewing helpers. Minimum wages were not paid to cleaners. There was double book-keeping in wage records and OT records.
Factory has made the first step to reduce harassment at work. Both the factory and the anti-harassment committee members need more time to gradually make more improvements.
INITIAL REPORT COMPLAINT IN Romania AT FACTORY SUPPLYING Gerard ROsch
On 19 September 2014 FWF received a complaint from a worker, working for a factory supplying Gerhard Rösch. The complaint related to the labour standard ‘Safe and Healthy working conditions’ which is part of FWF’s Code of Labour practices.
The complainants, currently employed by the factory, claimed that workers are (physically) restricted to leave the factory during working time. In case of emergency there are not enough exit routes. The two staircases open for workers are quite far away from certain working places. FWF requires Gerhard Rösch to make clear to the factory all exit doors need to be open during production. FWF highly recommends Gerhard Rösch to promote Workplace Education Program implementation at the factory, to stimulate dialogue between factory management and workers.
intermediate REPORT COMPLAINT IN Tunesia AT FACTORY SUPPLYING Bierbauw proenen
On June 9 and 10 FWF received a complaint from two workers, working for a factory supplying Bierbaum Proenen. The complaints related to the labour standards ‘Safe and healthy working conditions’ and ‘Legally-binding employment relationship’ which are both part of FWF’s Code of Labour Practices.
One day after a FWF audit the Tunisian manager of the factory had a meeting with workers who were interviewed during the audit and questioned them. After a dispute between manager and workers, several female workers were not allowed to work for 3 days, using an excuse of quality and productivity issues. For one of them work was stopped indefinitely. Above issues were backed up by signed suspension notices that were all dated a few days after the meeting took place and were for relatively light infractions. Since the meeting, workers were also asked to sign only short-term (1-3 month) labour contracts, some after having worked for more than a year without having to sign new contracts.
It seems that the signing of short-term contracts could have been used as a means to control workers and make them scared. Bierbaum-Proenen must address this issue with factory management. An active policy should be installed on appropriate and proportionate disciplinary measures at the factory. During the meeting held on November 25, factory management presented a number of steps the factory will take to prevent similar issues in the future. All workers were allowed to return to work.
Final REPORT COMPLAINT IN INdia AT FACTORY SUPPLYING Blackout, Continental Clothing, Hessnatur and Nudie Jeans
On 24 January 2014 FWF’s complaints handler in India received a complaint from a worker from a factory supplying the brands above. The complain related to the folowing labour standards of FWF’s Code of Labour Practices: ‘Legally binding employment relationship’, ‘Safe and healthy working conditions’ and ‘Payment of a living wage’.
Two workers claim getting incorrect treatment after an accident that happened at the factory. After the complaint was addressed to the factory, immediate response was given. FWF’s Audit Report of December 2013 indicates that not all workers are covered by social securities. The complaints handler is currently checking the social insurance calculations with the FWF documents inspector. FWF suggests consulting an independent doctor (paid by the FWF affiliate, not factory) to inspect the level of disablement of both workers and to clarify correct payment and compensation.