Concerning labour standards:
The complainant reported that workers are being pressured to work during their break by supervisors and leaders. In meetings, the supervisors and leaders often ask workers to start working earlier or to work during lunch time of their own free will. The complainant asserted that although it is a request, workers constantly feel obliged and pressured by the way this request is made. Therefore, there are workers who return to work as soon as they have finished eating because they are afraid of being reprimanded. Every worker, however, would like to enjoy their break fully and without pressure.
In the afternoon of 21 June 2018, a supervisor called some workers into a meeting at 12:00 (lunch time is from 11:30 to 12:10) and told them that they should work during their lunch or free time 'with a responsible mind'. S/he also pointed to some workers saying that they should work more during break time as their work was late.
On 22 June 2018, at 18:20, when the bell rang, workers scanned their fingers to leave. However, some workers were stopped by their supervisors and leaders to attend a short meeting which lasted about 10 minutes. In that meeting, they were told that the performance of their lines was unsatisfactory. Workers were blamed for taking a full break. The supervisors and leaders also said that if they were not committed to meeting the target, they should not return to work.
The production target per day is 120 pieces (15 pieces per hour), but if the sewing lines can achieve more, they are awarded a prize (first, second, third and beyond-target prize). As the supervisors and leaders want to compete with each other and win the prize, they pressure workers to work harder and faster to reach 160 pcs per day. Although it is said that lines can receive the first, second and third prizes, this is rare. Most of the time, they are just awarded the beyond-target prize and the money is shared among all workers on the same line. The office announces which lines received what prize the following day but often workers do no receive any money. They never ask or complain about it to anyone as they are confused. The complainant explained that the supervisors and leaders are not satisfied. This is not because workers do not meet 120 pcs per day, but because they want workers to go beyond the target. However, workers want full breaks and do not want to work or be called for meetings during their free time.
Findings and conclusions
FWF followed up with the complainant and found that some supervisors still said “We do not force you to work during lunch but we expect you put extra effort during your break if you are behind the target”.
A Workplace Education Programme on Communication was organised to help the factory setting up an internal communication channel to address grievances through worker-management dialogue. The training went well and factory management was very cooperative.
On 6 January 2019, the complainant confirmed that workers are no longer asked to work during their break although pressure on production remains. The complainant added that the factory was in low season, so no overtime was requested at the moment. Takko would therefore have to to remain vigilant to a potential resurfacing of the problem when order volume, and thus production pressure, increases again.
Overview of the complaint investigation
Takko immediately contacted the management of the supplier and asked for a response. On 6 July 2018, the management replied to Takko that they expressed their sympathy and they would inform all managers that rest times must be respected.
FWF followed up with the complainant and found that workers were no longer forced to work after working hours. The complainant indicated that s/he also urged colleagues from other lines and departments to report if this occurred again.
However, some of the supervisors still said “We do not force you to work during lunch but we expect you put extra effort during your break if you are behind the target”. As a result, some workers who are susceptible to this subtle form of pressure, take it seriously and work during lunch time.
As a Workplace Education Programme training on Communication was planned, FWF decided to put trust in the factory in setting up an internal communication channel as a means to address these grievances through worker-management dialogue. The training went well and factory management was very cooperative.
01/06/2019 Evaluation of the complaint
The complainant confirmed on 6 January 2019 that they are no longer asked to work during breaks although pressure on production remains. The complainant added that the factory was in low season, so no overtime was requested at the moment.
Based on the positive steps made by the factory, this complaint is now resolved. However, Takko would have to remain vigilant to a potential resurfacing of the problem when order volume, and thus production pressure, increases again.