Concerning labour standards:
The complainant claimed that, due to an urgent order, the factory required workers to work during their lunch time to catch up with delivery. Working hours are from 8:00 to 12:00 and from 13:30 to 17:30 and overtime (OT) is from 18:30 to 22:00. Working 11.5 hours per day is regular practice. However, workers lately have been taking only half an hour for lunch and returned to work quickly. As a result, they work 12.5 hours per day, Monday to Friday, plus 9 overtime hours on Saturday. This makes the total working hours 71.5 per week. Workers stated they were not required to work overtime on Saturday night or on Sunday.
Additionally, the complainant claimed that they have been working on an order for a month but the piece rate was not clear. Workers do not know how much they would be paid for this order in the end.
Findings and conclusions
In conclusion, the two original complaints were resolved as confirmed by the complainant. However, FWF could not reach the complainant again to verify whether the factory had retaliated against him/her for filing the complaint. Since the factory showed their Employee Grievance Procedure, which stipulated that the complainant could not be retaliated against, and promised to Mammut that they would not try to identify the complainant, FWF considers this case as resolved.
Overview of the complaint investigation
Mammut relayed the complaint on overtime and non-transparent piece rate to the factory. Mammut said that it was unacceptable to require workers to work 6 days per week for a total of 71.5 hours. This is far above the maximum of 60 hours per week set by Chinese law. Since this was a recurring complaint, Mammut requested the factory to urgently develop a serious plan to reduce working hours to 60 per week.
Before the investigation, the factory said that they did not believe this was true since October was their low season. Maybe there was some overtime, but not for long. Nevertheless, after checking with the factory's general manager and the compliance coordinator, they started the investigation.
10/25/2018 Conclusion of the investigation
Upon conclusion of the investigation, the factory management provided the following feedback:
- There were two sewing lines under delivery pressure and the sewing line foremen made their own decision and required workers to work during their lunch break. They had not informed the factory management about this decision.
- Regarding piece-rate policy, it was found that a few sewing line foremen had not communicated the piece rate to their the workers. This was a careless mistake.
The following remediation steps were taken:
1) The factory told the sewing line foreman not to allow anymore overtime work during lunch time. With immediate effect, overtime must be reduced by half an hour from 22:00 to 21:30 starting from the upcoming Monday.
2) Normally, the factory's Industrial Engineering (IE) department would evaluate and verify the piece rate with the sewing line foremen. After that, the foremen publish and post the piece rate in the sewing section. Starting from Friday 26 October 2018, IE would be responsible for posting the piece rate as soon as it has been established with the foremen. This is no longer the responsibility of the foremen.
FWF contacted the complainant to verify the situation. She said that the factory announced the day before that, due to insufficient orders, they would reduce the excessive overtime hours. The complainant was grateful for FWF's help.
However, the complainant informed FWF that the factory was trying to identify the person who had filed the complaint.
FWF requested the brand to inform the factory that the complaint could only be closed if they continued to pursue the identification of the complainant.
12/18/2018 Conclusion of the investigation
Mammut reached out to the factory which replied that their Employee Grievance Procedure already specified that the complainant could not be retaliated against.
At the same time, the factory also contacted the management of Mammut and promised that they would not try to identify the complainant.
01/07/2019 Evaluation of the complaint
Unfortunately the complainant could not be reached again to verify if no retaliation had taken place.
The two original complaints were resolved as confirmed by the complainant. Unfortunately, FWF could not reach the complainant again to verify whether the factory had retaliated against him/her for filing the complaint. Since the factory showed their Employee Grievance Procedure, which stipulated that the complainant could not be retaliated against, and promised to Mammut that they would not try to identify the complainant, FWF considers this case as resolved.