Complaints > Myanmar > Takko Holding GmbH, Complaint 618

Myanmar - Takko Holding GmbH, Complaint 618

Status
Closed
Country
Myanmar
Date
01/22/2019
Complaint ID
618
Member involved
Takko Holding
Filing party
Worker
Filed against
Factory management
Grounded
Yes

The case

The complainant reported that the factory changed the announcement about double pay and 10 days of annual leave. According to the complainant, the factory is on low season. Since they do not have enough work for workers, they announced that they would provide annual leave to the workers from 7 to 16 January 2019.

An exception was made for six production lines as they were needed to work on another client’s order. Workers on these six lines were promised by their supervisors during a meeting that they would be paid double the minimum wage during these 10 days and work 8 hours a day only. Moreover, they were promised that once the other workers had returned from annual leave, they would be granted annual leave if they wished. Therefore, they worked while others were on leave.

However, on 17 January, the CoC manager announced that they would be provided annual leave from 18/19 to 27/28 January and they would not be paid double for the days they worked. The workers were very upset that the factory did not keep the promise of paying double. Moreover, the annual leave period decided by the factory management included two Sundays, which they felt was not fair. Workers were of the view that the factory should not arrange annual leave for workers but that it should be decided with the agreement of both employer and employees according to the Leave and Holiday Act 1951. However, the factory decided by themselves without consultation with the workers.

On 14 March 2019, FWF received another call to the complaints helpline with a similar complaint. The complainant reported that the factory declared annual leave in January without consulting with the workers. The factory was on low season that time and did not have enough orders. So, they decided to provide annual leave during that period. The complainant said that the workers felt cheated as the factory provided annual leave by themselves because they wanted to avoid closing the factory with full payment compensated to workers. The complainant mentioned that, if possible, the workers wanted their annual leave back. In the future, they want to be fully consulted and given options on when they want the annual leave and how many days they want rather than one sided decision by the management.

Findings and conclusions

On 22 January 2019, FWF received a call to the complaint helpline in Myanmar. The complainant reported that the factory was on low season and since they did not have enough work, they told workers to take annual leave from 18/19 to 27/28 January. The annual leave period decided by the factory management included two Sundays, which they felt was not fair. Workers were of the view that the factory should not arrange annual leave for workers but it should be agreed between employer and employees as per the Leave and Holiday Act 1951. However, the factory decided by themselves without consultation with the workers.

The FWF member brand sourcing at the factory, Takko, immediately contacted the factory management and asked for its response. Factory management indicated that any annual leave already taken could not be undone for those workers who had agreed to take annual leave during 18/19 to 27/28 January. However, those workers who had not yet taken annual leave, could discuss with management and decide on the dates for their annual leave. Factory management confirmed that if they did not want to take the annual leave, they would pay their salary as per law.

FWF stressed again that the period that was declared for annual leave (18/19 to 27/28 January) included two Sundays. According to the Leave and Holiday Act, if Sundays are within the period of annual leave, they are counted as annual leave. However, the Leave and Holiday Act 1951 also stipulates that annual leave should be agreed between both employer and employees.

FWF and the brand explained that it is important that the factory communicated about all leaves and benefits clearly and transparently to the workers following local laws. Workers should not feel obliged or pressured to take annual leave because there are not enough orders. Annual leave should not be declared unilaterally by the factory management. The complainants claimed that they were not given any options. But if the workers were given options and clear explanation, they could have avoided selecting a period that includes two Sundays.

Takko followed up again with the factory management, which indicated that it would check with the local government if their practice of annual leave planning was as per law. Subsequently, the factory management indicated that, according to the relevant laws, the first and last day of the annual leave period cannot be a statutory holiday. The annual leave period can include one holiday. Factory management acknowledged that some workers had two statutory holidays during the annual leave period. Management promised that it would pay attention to this problem when they arrange annual leave in the future.

Takko suggested the factory management to discuss the annual leave planning together with workers or their representatives in future, as recommended by FWF. Finally, FWF suggested Takko to encourage the factory management to invest in more regular and constructive communication with workers, and listens to workers concerns rather than making unilateral decisions that infringe on workers rights.
See details

Overview of the complaint investigation

03/21/2019 Investigation

The FWF member brand sourcing at the factory, Takko, immediately contacted the factory management and asked for its response.

The factory management responded that it never promised that workers who worked during 7-16 January 2019 would be paid double the minimum wage. According to management, this must be a misunderstanding.

Factory management furthermore indicated that annual leave already taken cannot be undone for the workers who agreed to take annual leave during 18/19 to 27/28 January. However, workers who have not yet taken annual leave, can discuss with the management to decide the dates for their annual leave. Factory management confirmed that if they do not want to take the annual leave, it will pay their salary as per law.

04/03/2019 Investigation

FWF responded that there seems to be difference of opinion, as the complainant said the opposite. Communication therefore appears to have been unclear or ambiguous somehow at the very least. A misunderstanding as such seems to point to lack of good communications between management and workers, which unfortunately contributes to a negative sentiment. Workers somehow felt cheated. However, as payment of double wages is obviously not obligatory according to law, not doing so is obviously not a labour violation as such. Factory management, however, is advised to invest in better and more constructive communication to avoid such misunderstandings in the future.

On the second issue, it should be noted that the period that was declared for annual leave (18/19 to 27/28 January) includes two Sundays. According to the Leave and Holiday Act, if Sundays are within the period of annual leave, they are counted as annual leave. However, the Leave and Holiday Act 1951 also stipulates that annual leave should be decided in agreement of both employer and employees. Now, the factory decided by themselves without consultation with the workers.

It is important that the factory communicates about all leaves and benefits clearly and transparently to the workers following local laws. Workers should not feel obliged or pressured to take annual leave because there are not enough orders. Annual leave should not be declared unilaterally by the factory management. The complainants claimed that they were not given any options. But if the workers were given options and clear explanation, they could have avoided selecting a period that includes two Sundays.

06/26/2019 Closed

Takko indicated that it had a meeting with the factory management, which indicated that it would check with the local government if their practice of annual leave planning is as per law.

Subsequently, the factory management indicated that, according to the relevant laws, the first and last day of the annual leave period cannot be a statutory holiday. The annual leave period can include one holiday. Factory management acknowledged that some workers had two statutory holidays during the annual leave period. Management promised that it will pay attention to this problem when they arrange annual leave in the future to avoid recurrence.

Takko suggested the factory management to discuss the annual leave planning together with workers or their representatives in future, as recommended by FWF.

FWF suggest Takko to encourage the factory management to invest in more regular and constructive communication with workers, and listens to workers concerns rather than making unilateral decisions that infringes on workers rights.

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