A number of workers reached out to FWF's complaints handler in Tunisia to complain about the mechanic's behaviour. He is aggressive and insulting towards workers in front of everyone. The workers say that every time he is asked to repair a machine or to provide any other service, he verbally insults that person, irrespective whether he/she is a worker, a supervisor, woman or man. This behaviour happens on a daily basis. The workers feel that his behaviour is unacceptable.
The workers informed the director, but according to the workers, the director did not take sufficient action to change the behaviour of the mechanic. At least, any intervention by the director has not changed the mechanic's behaviour.
The workers would like a more clear intervention by the director to ensure that the mechanic's behaviour will change so that he will respect his colleagues and that he will stop insulting people.
Findings and conclusions
FWF's complaints handler reached out to the complainants who confirmed that they had noticed a change in the mechanic's behaviour, who now behaves in a more friendly manner and responds well to the demands of the workers. The workers were satisfied with the outcome of the complaint. The complaint has been resolved.
Overview of the complaint investigation
The brand, Bierbaum-Proenen, informed factory management about the complaint. The general manager acknowledged most of the problem. The behaviour of the mechanic had been discussed several times, also with the mechanic. However, management denied that the mechanic has been aggressive at any point. Furthermore, the manager informed the brand that the mechanic and a line supervisor have been quarrelling often. He addressed this several times, but now and then the quarrelling returns.
FWF recommends Bierbaum-Proenen to follow up the complaint by:
- Explaining to the manager that not only one person complained about the behaviour of the mechanic, but several workers contacted the FWF worker helpline. The problem is therefore more widespread;
- Emphasising that management should take complaints about scolding seriously and not easily dismiss any allegations without talking to all parties involved;
- Checking whether the factory has an internal grievance and disciplinary procedure and whether that procedure has been followed correctly;
- Recommending to the manager to ensure that workers are properly informed about the actions the manager took to address inappropriate behaviour.
- Recommending to the manager to organise a session with all parties involved for reconciliation but also to agree on responsible behaviour within the factory, how to provide feedback to a person showing inappropriate behaviour and how to report inappropriate behaviour in case the person does not change their attitude.
- Recommending to the manager to strengthen internal systems and to discuss inappropriate behaviour in the CCE (Worker Committee), to check whether the procedures to prevent and address inappropriate behaviour are adequate and to organise a session with all the workers about (in)appropriate behaviour to explain what inappropriate behaviour is and how to deal with it when it occurs.
FWF will contact the complainants again within a month to see whether the behaviour changed over a longer period of time.
The brand asked for a response from factory management. The manager acknowledges that complaints were raised internally about the behaviour of the mechanic. He already discussed this internally with the people involved.
04/27/2018 Conclusion of the investigation
After the factory replied to the brand, the FWF complaints handler contacted the complainants again.
Although the general manager referred to the quarreling of the mechanic and a line supervisor, among the group of workers who contacted the FWF complaints handler there was no line supervisor.
The complainants did see a change of behaviour with the mechanic. The mechanic now behaves in a more friendly manner and responds well to the demands of the workers.
07/20/2018 Evaluation of the complaint
The FWF complaints handler contacted once more the complainant, who confirmed that the general manager had a meeting with the mechanic and some workers (most likely the members of the consultative committee). During this meeting the mechanic was asked by the manager to respect all his colleagues and to be on his best behaviour at work. In addition, a surveillance camera was installed to convey a message that respect among colleagues is an obligatory in the company.
The complainant stated that since this meeting, the mechanic understands and respects everyone. All workers have noticed this change and they are very satisfied.
This complaint is resolved.