Continental Clothing Company Ltd, Epona Ltd, MANROOF GmbH, Nudie Jeans Co., Complaint 207

CONCERNING LABOUR STANDARDS
Payment of a living wage Safe and healthy working conditions
STATUS
Closed
DATE
2017-02-02

The complainant claimed that a number of workers including himself/herself did not receive annual bonus payments during Diwali, and that 80 to 90 recently joined workers from Bihar stopped working in protest of delayed wage payments (around 31st January). Management informed workers that they will pay the full payment to their bank account once these have been set up. The complainant also shared that (s)he tried to address these issues with HR management, who refused to take it up and used abusive language.

Findings and conclusions

On 2 February 2017, FWF received a complaint from a worker who is currently employed by the factory. The complainant claimed that a number of workers including himself/herself did not receive annual bonus payments during Diwali, and that 80 to 90 recently joined workers from Bihar stopped working in protest of delayed wage payments (around 31st January). Management informed workers that they will pay the full payment to their bank account once these have been set up. The complainant also shared that (s)he tried to address these issues with HR management, who refused to take it up and used abusive language.

FWF informed involved member brands about the case on 6 February 2017. Members contacted the suppliers and received some clarification. In addition, two FWF worker interviewers interviewed 18 workers outside the factory and, on 10 March, a FWF worker interviewer and document inspector discussed the findings with management and reviewed relevant documents.

In conclusion, no non-compliances related to bonus payments could be confirmed. Since FWF could not confirm the non-compliances that were raised in the complaint, no remediation points result from this complaint investigation. FWF recommends employing a Hindi speaking person in the HR department to reduce communication gaps.
FWF’s complaint handler tried calling the complainant several times to inform him/her
about the outcome of the investigation, but the number was no longer available.

Overview of the complaint investigation

2017-03-15 Investigation

FWF informed involved member brands about the case on 6th February 2017. Members contacted the suppliers and received some clarifications.
In addition, two FWF worker interviewers interviewed 18 workers outside the factory (the majority of these workers originated from North India like the complainant; piece rate as well as time rate worker were interviewed). On 10th March, a FWF worker interviewer and document inspector discussed the findings with management and reviewed relevant documents.

2017-03-15 Conclusion of the investigation

Based on the investigation, FWF concludes the following points:

- Payment of bonus: The bonus for the year 2016- 2017 was paid from 15th October onward [Diwali was on 28th Oct]. The company has declared 8.33% minimum bonus as per the law (for the workers who have worked less than a year) and 9% for the workers who have exceeded one year service. The number of employees eligible for bonus was 963 and bonus has been paid to 864 employees so far. The remaining 99 employees are yet to receive the bonus. The reason for the non-payment is either the workers have left the job or they might have gone to their home town. It could be verified that bonus was also paid to workers who only worked for three days [as per law, workers are
entitled for bonus only if they complete 30 days of work].
The investigation team verified that two persons in the same name of the complainant (whose identity was not revealed to management) have acknowledged that they have received their bonus.
In conclusion, no non-compliances related to bonus payments could be confirmed.

- Strike: Both the off-site interviews and the interviews with the management indicated that there was no strike this year either for bonus distribution or any other reason.

- Salary payment: The Government of India issued a notice on 28th December 2016 advising factories to pay wages by cheque or crediting in bank account. The notice was exhibited in the local language on the notice board. Out of 734 employees, 691 employees had bank accounts at the time of investigation. For newly joined workers it will take up to 20 days from the date of joining to open a bank account. It could be verified that management took measures such as cash advance payments to ensure workers received payments during that period. HR managers also assisted workers in collecting money from their accounts.
Salary is paid both on weekly and monthly basis. The salaries of November, December and January were all paid on time.

- Verbal abuse: All interviewed workers confirmed that there is no verbal abuse, but indicated that there is some miscommunication due to language gaps.

2017-03-15 Remediation

Since FWF could not confirm the non-compliances that were raised in the complaint, no remediation points result from this complaint investigation.
FWF recommends employing a Hindi speaking person in the HR department to reduce communication gaps.

2017-03-15 Evaluation of the complaint

FWF’s complaint handler tried calling the complainant several times to inform him/her about the outcome of the investigation, but the number was no longer available.

2017-03-15 Closed

This complaint is closed.