Deuter Sport GmbH, Complaint 523

CONCERNING LABOUR STANDARDS
There is no discrimination in employment Legally binding employment relationship
STATUS
Closed
DATE
2018-09-12

The complainant, a representative of the factory union, claimed that the factory management discriminates among workers depending on their positions.

A supervisor, who was sued by the union for using bad language to communicate with the workers, was sentenced by the court that she shall be jailed for 15 days or pay 30,000 MMK as fine since she admitted her misconduct. She chose to pay the fine and was allowed to continue service in the factory.

A few days before the court made the decision, two workers from the cutting department had a fight. Since it violates clause (3) under serious misconduct, the management decided to terminate both of them. The union requested the factory to reconsider as one of the workers' wife was going to deliver a baby very soon but the management did not change the decision.

Hence, the union is not happy with the arbitrary decision made by the management, which is considered unfair and discriminatory. The supervisor is not dismissed even when the Employment Contract Clause number (12) clearly specifies that being arrested due to a crime or sued and sentenced by the law, is a cause for immediately termination without any compensation, while the two workers in the Cutting section were immediately dismissed for the misconduct under Employment Contract clause 3 (fighting).

The complainant claimed that the management does not apply the same rules for all employee due to discrimination. He seeks help for justice and elimination of discrimination at workplace. In this regard, it should be noted that the union does not want to the supervisor to be disciplined further, but it request that the two workers from the Cutting Department be given a second chance and be reinstated.

Findings and conclusions

On 12 September FWF received a call to the complaints helpline in Myanmar. The complainant, a representative of the factory union, claimed that the factory management discriminates among workers depending on their positions. A supervisor used bad language to communicate with workers, was sentenced to pay a fine of 30,000 MMK since she admitted her misconduct. She chose to pay the fine and was allowed to continue service in the factory. The supervisor made apologies to the workers concerned who accepted. A few days before the court made the decision to fire two workers from the in cutting department who had a fight. Since it violates clause (3) under serious misconduct, the management decided to terminate both of them.

The union is not happy with the arbitrary decision made by the management, which is considered unfair and discriminatory. The supervisor is not dismissed even when the Employment Contract Clause number (12) clearly specifies that being arrested due to a crime or sued and sentenced by the law, is a cause for immediately termination without any compensation, while the two workers in the Cutting section were immediately dismissed for the misconduct under Employment Contract clause 3 (fighting).

FWF immediately contacted the member brand Deuter which contacted the factory management and asked for its response. FWF member brand Deuter also informed FWF that it would visit the factory the week after. The meetings took place in the week of 22 October and included interviews with the factory management, concerned supervisor and union leader. The investigation showed that the decisions of the factory management were based on severity of the offence committed and not based on discrimination due to the position the workers hold. Case 1 (bad language) was considered by the labour office which advised how to rule. A fine was paid by the supervisor and an apology was made to workers concerned who accepted the apology. For the second case, workers were caught fighting which resulted in serious bodily harm. The factory has a zero tolerance for fighting and the decision to fire the two workers seemed justified.

FWF informed the complainant that both the brand and FWF found the decision of the factory was justified. The complainant accepted the conclusion. The complaint is resolved.

Overview of the complaint investigation

2018-11-02 Investigation

FWF shared the complaint with FWF member brand Deuter, which, on 9 October, requested a response from the factory management. The brand also indicated that it would travel to Myanmar the following week at which time it will also follow-up on the case.

2018-11-15 Investigation

On 15 October the brand received a response from the factory management stating that the two cases are incomparable.

Case 1: The supervisor used bad words in June. She subsequently apologized to the 6 workers who accepted her apology. Finally, the court said she is not guilty.

Case 2: two workers from the cutting division workers got into a fight with each other and one worker lost his tooth. According to factory rules, anybody who is caught fighting would be fired.

2018-12-10 Closed

The investigation showed that the decisions of the factory management were based on severity of the offence committed and not based on discrimination due to the position the workers hold. Case 1 (bad language) was considered by the labour office which advised how to rule. A fine was paid by the supervisor and an apology was made to workers concerned who accepted the apology. For the second case, workers were caught fighting which resulted in serious bodily harm. The factory has a zero tolerance for fighting and the decision to fire the two workers seemed justified.