Hess Natur-Textilien GmbH, Nudie Jeans Co., Complaint 75

Payment of a living wage Safe and healthy working conditions Legally binding employment relationship

Two workers claim getting incorrect treatment after an accident that happened at the factory.

Findings and conclusions

On 24 January 2014 FWF’s complaints handler in India received a complaint from a worker from a factory supplying the brands above. The complain related to the folowing labour standards of FWF’s Code of Labour Practices: ‘Legally binding employment relationship’, ‘Safe and healthy working conditions’ and ‘Payment of a living wage’.

Two workers claim getting incorrect treatment after an accident that happened at the factory. After the complaint was addressed to the factory, immediate response was given. FWF’s Audit Report of December 2013 indicates that not all workers are covered by social securities. The complaints handler is currently checking the social insurance calculations with the FWF documents inspector.
FWF suggests consulting an independent doctor (paid by the FWF affiliate, not factory) to inspect the level of disablement of both workers and to clarify correct payment and compensation.
After involvement of the member brands, treatment was provided, compensation was paid and PF fund was received according to law. Both workers are back to work and there was no further need for a disablement certification.

Overview of the complaint investigation

2015-01-07 Investigation

FWF informs Blackout, Continental, hessnatur and Nudie Jeans about the case. Nudie Jeans agreed to take the lead and to coordinate approaching the factory management. The other brands were asked to support Nudie Jeans and to ensure help solving the complaint.
Both Nudie Jeans and Continental have visited the factory following up the complaint and discussing the issue with the factory management.
A local Indian partner of FWF accompanies the plaintiffs during the medical check-ups to ensure they get the medical treatment needed and the applicable disability certificate.

2015-01-07 Conclusion of the investigation

After Nudie Jeans has addressed the complaint with the factory, immediate response was given.
a) Treatment: Treatment has been given in the best hospital in Coimbatore and the documents said that they have been immediately admitted on the day of accident and no false reason is given and it is admitted that they have fallen from 20 feet high.

b) Compensation: As per Section 4(d) and sub-section (2) of The Workmen Compensation Act, 1923, the factory has paid both the workers 25% of the monthly salary for 16 days or 50% in one month. The amount spent by the employer towards the medical treatment of the workers, is over and above the compensation paid to them under the Act. If they are eligible for more compensation under the Act, it could be
determined once the “Disability Certificate” is issued by the competent authority.
The management has shown the letter to FWF which requests the doctor to issue the same and the doctor replying that it could be given at the end of the treatment. A local partner of FWF is verifying the process at the moment.

c) Bonus: Bonus is paid as required by law to both the workers. One of the plaintiffs is not eligible for bonus for the year 2012-13 as the date of joining was mid-2013 only. However, the factory has paid minimum bonus of Rs.100/- for the year, as per Section 10 of the Act.

d) Provident Fund (PF): The Fair Wear Foundation Audit Report of December 2013 indicates that not all workers are covered by social securities. As required by Section 40 of The Employees’ Provident Fund Scheme, 1952, Contribution card for each eligible employee is maintained by the factory, for every currency period. An upload of PF
contributions of both employee & employer on PF website: Employees’ Provident Fund Website (http://www.epfindia.com) was missing initially.
The later handed in documents were not written properly and showed inconsistencies. At the end, both workers received PF according to law.

e) Disability Certificate: Disablement means the loss of capacity to work or to move. Disablement of a workman may result in loss or reduction of his earning capacity. Disablement may be 1] partial or 2] total. Further it may be i] permanent or ii] temporary.
The complaints handler has visited the medical institutions with the plaintiffs to ensure that they get their disability certificate accordingly. Both plaintiffs had to undergo several operations during 2014 which were all taken care and covered by the factory. The result of all operations and treatment is that both plaintiffs are back to normal by end of 2014 and that no partial or total disability certificate is required. The doctor’s advice was to take it easy with regard to hard work to ensure that all fractures have time to fully heal.

2015-01-07 Remediation

Nudie Jeans took the lead in investigating this complaint has discussed the matter actively with the factory management.
The affiliates were requested to continue their efforts ensuring transparency of factory management towards its workers.
Further the affiliates were requested to continue their efforts ensuring a wage with which the workers can make a living.

2015-01-07 Verification

The complaints handler and plaintiffs confirm that all medical expenses have been covered. During investigation the factory has been transparent showing all medical records. Evidence was shown that all social securities and bonus were paid correctly and according to Indian law. The complaints handler met with the plaintiffs and the medical staff at hospital and confirmed that both plaintiffs are fully back to speed and no partial or full disability certificate is required.

2015-01-07 Evaluation of the complaint

The plaintiffs thanked FWF for their help to fully recover.

2015-01-07 Resolved

This complaint is resolved.