HAVEP, Complaint 372

CONCERNING LABOUR STANDARDS
Legally binding employment relationship
STATUS
Closed
DATE
2018-04-13

There are two complaints:
1. The complainant claimed that the factory does not pay income taxes in accordance with the tax law. Workers who earn more than 5000 TND are not taxed in the right way. According to the complainant, factory management refused to discuss this with the workers.
2. 40 workers were transferred to a newly established factory. They feared loss of their professional seniority.

Findings and conclusions

On 13 April 2018, FWF's complaints handler in Tunisia received a call from factory workers, who claimed that taxes were not paid in accordance with the Tunisian tax law. FWF declared this complaint admissible and informed HAVEP, the FWF member brand sourcing in this factory. Based on the information supplied by the complainants, the FWF complaints handler concluded that the factory was paying taxes according to the law. The complaints handler then explained the changes in the tax law to the complainants. Furthermore, the complainants were afraid of loosing their professional seniority as they were among the 40 workers that were transferred to a new location. As there were no changes to their contracts, pay and benefits after the transfer, the FWF complaints handler advised them to contact FWF again if the transfer would still lead to any disadvantages.
FWF recommends that HAVEP follows up on the complaint by organising a training so that workers understand their payslips and the payment of taxes, encouraging and/or supporting the factory in setting up an internal grievance system, and monitoring the transfer of the 40 workers. The workers were satisfied with the handling of this complaint. This complaint has been closed.

Overview of the complaint investigation

2018-05-03 Remediation

FWF recommends HAVEP to follow up the complaint by:

- Organising a training for all the workers on the changes in the tax law and wages as the complainants emphasised that more workers didn't understand the payment of taxes;
- Verifying whether the factory has an internal grievance mechanism in place. The workers claimed that the HR manager would have refused to answer their questions. An open door policy can sometimes not be sufficient to address such complaints. An active worker committee (or any other grievance instrument) can help to address such grievances. HAVEP should encourage the supplier to make active use of a worker committee.
- Actively monitoring the transfer of 40 workers to the new factory and ensuring that workers are not disadvantaged in any way by the transfer.

2018-05-03 Evaluation of the complaint

The workers were satisfied with the explanation of the FWF complaints handler about the changes in the tax system. They were now more comfortable with the payment of taxes. Furthermore, the complainants would reach out to FWF again if the transfer of workers would lead to any disadvantages.

2018-05-03 Closed

Based on the explanation of the workers, they FWF complaints handler came to the conclusion that the factory was paying taxes in accordance with the law. The FWF complaints handler explained the tax law to the complainants.

Furthermore, as the workers had already received their payslips and pay and there were no changes to their contracts, the FWF complaints handler concluded that there were currently no disadvantages for the workers. Therefore, the complaints handler advised to call back if the factory would make changes to their contracts, pay or benefits that would be to the disadvantage of the workers.