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A worker complained that orders from non FWF buyers of the factory are being subcontracted to factories that have never been audited and would have bad labour conditions. The complainant was able to name more than 5 subcontractors. The complainant informed that he/she had evidence of production planning that prove orders were subcontracted.
The complainant also mentioned that the factory does not have sufficient sewing workers and during social audits temporary workers are hired to make it seem as though there is sufficient labour capacity to produce all orders. According to the complainant these temporary workers do not even know how to sew, and are only hired for make-believe during audits.
On 3 March 2018, FWF's complaints handler in China received a complaint from a factory worker who claimed that orders from non-FWF buyers of the factory are being subcontracted to factories that have never been audited and would have bad labour conditions.
The complainant also mentioned that the factory does not have sufficient sewing workers and during social audits temporary workers are hired to make it seem as if there is sufficient labour capacity to produce all orders. These temporary workers do not even know how to sew, and are only hired for make-believe during audits. FWF declared this complaint admissible and informed Outdoor Sports Company and Haglofs, the FWF member brands sourcing at this factory. It was decided that this complaint's investigation would take place during a FWF audit scheduled in April. During the audit, management shared the details of all subcontractors they are using. No evidence has been found for the hiring of unskilled temporary workers during audits. However, an audit is only a snapshot, and, therefore, this will need continued attention.
As a FWF audit was already planned on 23 April 2018, it was decided to conduct the investigation of the complaint during this audit.
During the audit the management first presented falsified documentation, but after some discussion with the FWF audit supervisor, the real records were shown. Management also shared the names and locations of the subcontractors for FWF and non FWF brands.
During the audit, the audit team did not discover any temporary workers who were not sewing. It should be noted however that an audit is a snapshot, and does not mean temporary workers have never been employed during previous audits.
FWF members should include transparency about subcontractors as a topic for discussion with factories, to prevent orders being subcontracted without their knowledge. Brands should agree with factories beforehand which subcontractors may be used, and these should be included in the brands' monitoring system. When brands place an order they should know the production capacity of the factory, and agree with the factory if and which subcontractors will be used.
The audit found that the claims of the complainant regarding unknown subcontracting were grounded. The factory management supplied the names and addresses of the subcontractors during the audit.
The claim regarding the use of unskilled temporary workers during audits could not be proven or disregarded and will need continuous attention.