Bierbaum-Proenen GmbH & Co. KG, Fristads Kansas Group, Complaint 199

CONCERNING LABOUR STANDARDS
Payment of a living wage Legally binding employment relationship
STATUS
Closed
DATE
2016-06-03

On 3 June 2016, a worker at a factory supplying Bierbaum Proenen and Fristad Kansas alleged that he was dismissed on illegal grounds. He had a three-month contract through an interim agency, a common practice in Tunisia.

Findings and conclusions

On 3 June 2016, a worker at a factory supplying Bierbaum Proenen and Fristad Kansas alleged that he was dismissed on illegal grounds. He had a three-month contract through an interim agency, a common practice in Tunisia.

According to the worker, he was unjustly blamed for throwing out material after cutting. Based on this allegation, the complainant was given a three-day unpaid suspension by the Consultative Committee. He refused to sign a document where he acknowledge guilt and, as a consequence, he was sent home without the possibility of working the last three weeks of his contract. He was not rehired.

According to the factory, the complainant resigned after unsuccessfully trying to cover up a mistake that he had made. He furthermore did not show up for work after his suspension period. The factory hired a new employee. The complainant, alleges factory management, returned to work until the end of his contract but in another position. He received his remaining holiday and remuneration, including annual bonus.

After investigation , it was found that the suspension and dismissal was in accordance with the CBA.The complainant had received all the benefits he was entitled to. Although FWF took steps to see whether mediation was still possible, FWF found that mediation was no longer possible. FWF will not take further action and will not require BP and Fristad Kansas to take further action

The complainant was satisfied that we had investigated his case. He has found a new job at another factory supplying a FWF member, where he feels more comfortable

Overview of the complaint investigation

2016-09-26 Conclusion of the investigation

FWF had contacted the labour inspection and the interim agency. On the 27th of September, FWF performed an on-site investigation. The investigation included interviews with management, four representatives from the consultative committee, the line supervisor, the trainee and other workers. The interviewees confirmed the story as told by the factory manager.

Documents inspection showed that the complainant had a record of many warnings and suspensions for throwing away cut tissue from 2013 onwards. Throwing away cut tissue is considered a serious mistake by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which can lead to a warning or suspension. Although not all suspensions were in line with the corresponding articles in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the 1-day suspension the complainant complained about was in line with the CBA.

Besides having complained through the FWF worker helpline, the complainant had also approached the labour inspection. The labour inspection mediated between the two parties and succeeded in getting the worker re-instated for the period that he had a contract. After the contract ended and the worker had signed his resignation, the labour inspection took no further action.

The suspension and dismissal was in accordance with the CBA. The complainant had received all the benefits he was entitled to. Although FWF took steps to see whether mediation was still possible, FWF found that mediation was no longer possible.

2016-12-08 Investigation

FWF has informed the two members about the case and has asked for a response. The factory manager claimed the following:

The complainant instructed a trainee to dispose cut tissue from Bierbaum Proenen. The trainee then asked the cutting and hall supervisor whether this was the correct procedure. Since this was not the correct procedure, and the complainant tried to cover up his mistake, the complainant was suspended for three days. The complainant did not accept the suspension. The complainant resigned orally.

The complainant did not come to work after the three days of suspension, but was later altered to a one day suspension after intervention of the labour inspection.

The factory manager then hired a new employee. After one week, the complainant was offered to come to work again until the end of the contract, but in another position. The complainant was then employed until the end of the contract. (30-06-2016). The complainant would have incorrectly discarded cut tissue again.

The complainant would have received his remaining holidays and the remaining remunerations, including the annual bonus (calculated on the basis of the months worked).

2016-12-08 Evaluation of the complaint

The complainant was satisfied that we had investigated his case. He has found a new job at another factory supplying a FWF member, where he feels more comfortable.

2016-12-08 Closed

This complaint has been closed.