Concerning labour standards:
The complainant stated that there is discrimination against some workers. For instance, in 2017 most of the workers got a wage increase except for a few workers. He/she claimed that management used some workers as a telltale and when they refused this, they faced pressure from management. He/she also mentioned that days are missing in the social security registration.
Overview of the complaint investigation
The complainant called on the second day of the audit. The audit team verified most of his/her allegations during the audit. FWF informed Bierbaum-Proenen about the complaint and sent them the audit report in July.
07/07/2017 Conclusion of the investigation
Findings of the audit team:
1. Social security: Part of the complaint was about days missing in the social security registration. The auditors verified this as true.
2. Discrimination: The complainant stated that there is discrimination against some workers. For instance, stating that this year most of the workers got a wage increase except for a few workers. The auditors determined that the factory management is still not transparent with regard to wage records. This is why the auditors could not find out whether this part of the complaint holds true.
The audit team suspects possible discrimination against pregnant and breast-feeding workers as factory management could not provide a policy to protect pregnant and breast-feeding workers. This is an additional finding to the initial complaint.
Factory management responded:
1. The factory was founded at the beginning of 2015. The social security agency has been informed about all workers from the first day of employment. However, the social security agency at that time was not able to register all workers at the same time but over a period of two months, which is why some workers are registered late. A statement from the social security agency has been requested.
2. Factory management confirms that there are differences between workers and how much of a wage increase they received. Wages were increased based on the following criteria:
a) standard yearly wage increase as per government regulations
b) wage increase due to good performance evaluation
c) wage increase for workers who moved up the career ladder
01/23/2018 Conclusion of the investigation
With regard to wages paid, it seems that factory management has a system and reasons for wage increases aside from the legally required wage increases. However this system is not clear to workers, which leads to a feeling of discrimination.
With regard to outstanding social security payments, Bierbaum-Proenen and its factory should do the following:
1a) Share with FWF the statement from the social security agency
1b) Ensure registration of all workers under social security
1c) Ensure all outstanding social security payments are made
To ensure workers understand wage increases, the following needs remediation:
2a) Factory management should set up a policy explaining the factory's wage system.
2b) All workers should be made aware of the wage system.
The factory must establish a policy to protect pregnant and breast-feeding workers. All workers should be informed about factory policy on protecting pregnant and breast-feeding workers.