HAVEP, Complaint 604

Legally binding employment relationship

The complainant worked at the factory since 2003 (15 years seniority) at the cutting unit and then became a production manager. The complainant is not a member of the regional trade union.
In 2016, the complainant had an disagreement with the factory owner over the mismanagement of its work. Since that argument, the complainant has been sanctioned and no longer managed the system of orders and had no longer an access to the email, but he was receiving the work through factory's director.
In November 2018, he/she was dismissed from the factory together with 14 other workers due to factory's financial difficulties and the bad relationship with the new factory owner. According to the complainant there is no long-term business plan for the factory and he/she considers the current situation at the factory as very serious.

Overview of the complaint investigation

2019-01-11 Investigation

Fair Wear declared this complaint admissible and informed brand Havep, the Fair Wear's member sourcing at this factory.
Brand Havep reached out to factory management, who claimed that the 15 workers were dismissed due to misconduct and in order to keep the factory open.
Following this, the working inspection of the Kef summoned the owner of the factory for a conciliation meeting, but the owner did not attend. So the inspection considered that this dismissal is abusive and the case is passed to the court.
The trade union will pay the costs of a lawyer for all dismissed workers.
The first session was scheduled in court on 2 January 2019, but no representative of the company attended. Then the judge postponed the session to 24 January.

2019-02-14 Investigation

In consultation with Havep, a Fair Wear verification audit was initiated to assess the social but also financial situation at the factory as this seems to be a root cause of the workers’ unrest (workers did not receive their salary on time). This means that in addition to the audit report an analysis on the workers' severance payment for 15 workers and analysis on wages of the remaining workers were provided to the brand. According to Fair Wear's audit findings, the overall atmosphere has improved at the factory and workers were happy to resume the production for the brand.
The brand is asked to follow up on the audit findings.

2019-03-20 Investigation

The complaint handler called the complainant to check the situation. The complaint explained that there is no change in the dismissal case. Each time the case is postponed by the judge for some reasons he/she does not understand. The complainant also shared his/her point of view that the former management of the brand is responsible for the current situation at the factory.

2019-04-04 Investigation

The complainant and according to its feedback, the other 14 workers are not interested in returning back to work at the factory if the current factory ownership and management remain the same. There is no interest in reconciliation or mediation with factory management.
This case is currently in court.

2020-01-06 Investigation

The court decision documents were shared with Fair Wear by HAVEP. This is the primary court decision ruled in favour of the dismissal of the workers. According to documents received, each dismissed worker should receive outstanding wages, productivity bonus, workwear bonus and the costs of litigation. This primary decision did not include the severance payment to workers for their dismissal.
Previously HAVEP informed Fair Wear that the factory management filed also a court case against the workers, but no further information on this case was provided to Fair Wear yet.

Fair Wear local complaint handler tried to contact the complainant several times by phone and email, but the complainant was unresponsive. Therefore, the local complaint handler contacted another dismissed worker instead. This worker shared with Fair Wear that all dismissed workers are concerned and refuse this court decision. The workers will make a second appeal and the next meeting is scheduled in March.