Jack Wolfskin, Schoffel Sportbekleidung GmbH, Complaint 602

CONCERNING LABOUR STANDARDS
Payment of a living wage Reasonable hours of work Safe and healthy working conditions Legally binding employment relationship
STATUS
Resolved
DATE
2018-12-25

On 25 December 2018, a worker called the complaints handler of Vietnam to complaint that overtime hours were not being registered.
He/she explained that from November 2018, workers had to work overtime from 17:00 to 18:00 or 19:00 without time recording. Workers had to sign out at 17:00 and then return to work until 18:00 or 19:00 without time recording and no overtime payment.

Another worker called on 29 December 2018 to complain about the following issues:
2. Workers had to work during lunch time
3. Poor meals
4. The person in charge of the needles did not work after 17:00, so if the needle broke after 17:00, the workers had to change the needle themselves.
5. The clinic and the medical staff did not work after 17:00. So, in case workers fell sick after 17:00, they would not be able to have a medical checkup nor medicines.

Findings and conclusions

On 25 December 2018, a worker called the complaints handler of Vietnam to complaint that overtime hours were not being registered.

1. From November 2018, workers had to work overtime from 17:00 to 18:00 or 19:00 without time recording. Workers had to sign out at 17:00 and then return to work until 18:00 or 19:00 without time recording and no overtime payment.

Another worker called on 29 December 2018 to complain about the following issues:
2. Workers had to work during lunch time
3. Poor meals
4. The person in charge of the needles did not work after 17:00, so if the needle broke after 17:00, the workers had to change the needle themselves.
5. The clinic and the medical staff did not work after 17:00. So, in case workers fell sick after 17:00, they would not be able to have a medical checkup nor medicines.

On 2 January 2019, Jack Wolfskin and Schoffel informed the factory about the complaint. The factory management explained that the factory premises would be moved to a new location where it would be possible to shut down power and avoid work during lunch time.

On 24 January 2019, a worker called the helpline to say that:
1. Working during lunchtime was still happening.
2. Overtime work without time recording had improved. According to the complainant, workers worked overtime only until 17:00. From 10 January, no work after 17:00 was conducted. Therefore, points 4 and 5 were resolved.
3. Poor meals still pending. Factory management promised to improve this issue after Tet holiday.

At the end of February 2019, the factory shared with the brands that:
1: They explained to workers how important it was for their health to take a break at lunch time. Most of them understood and enjoyed relaxing during their break. In a few cases some workers still worked during the lunch break voluntarily.
2: In comparison with other factories in the same industrial zone, the amount of food provided to workers was sufficient to keep working in the afternoon. Factory would pay more attention to the quality of the meals.

The worker reported that the new building was cleaner and bigger than the old one. However, the complainant mentioned that some days the electricity was still turned on during the lunch breaks.

In August 2019, the worker said that the situation improved but that some workers were still working during lunch time.

In October 2019, Fair Wear conducted a Verification Audit in which all issues of the complaint were checked. After checking documents, interviewing management and workers, the auditors concluded that all issues were solved.

The case is thus resolved.

Overview of the complaint investigation

2019-01-24 Investigation

The complaint handler received an update form the worker on 24th January:
1. Working during lunchtime: still pending
2. Overtime work without time recording: improved. According to the complainant, the workers work overtime only until 17:00 since 10 January, no work after 17:00 anymore.
3. Poor meals: pending. Factory management promised to improve this issue after Tet holiday.
4. Issue # 4&5 do not happen because there is no OT after 17:00 since 10 January.

According to Vietnam law:
- Overtime hours worked need to be registered and paid at overtime rate.
- When working for 6 to 8 consecutive hours, workers should have at least 30 minutes break.
- According to Health and Safety standard, the meals should provide enough calories for workers to conduct their work and should respect the hygiene regulations.

The members shared the issues with the factory and received the following feedback:
The factory will move to another facility at end of January to another building which is just five minutes away. In the new building, they can switch off electricity during lunch breaks, whereas in the old one where the electricity couldn't be shut off because the electricity system was connected with the boilers and taping machines and if they shut it down they would not have been enough heat to start working directly after the lunch break.

The new factory should have more lines so the overtime issue will most probably be limited.
The new factory will be audited by Sumations in March / April 2019.

2019-02-27 Investigation

The complaint handler reached out to the worker who shared that: the new building is clean and bigger than the old one.
About working during lunchtime: he/she said that this issue has not improved yet. The electricity is still turned on in lunch breaks in some days in the week which means some workers can still work. Since early Jan 2019, the workers work overtime only until 17:00, no work after 17:00 anymore.

The factory told the brands that:
2: They explained and educated for workers on how important it is for their health to take a break during lunch time. Most of them understand and enjoy relaxing . But it still happens in few cases that workers decide to work during lunch time, on a voluntary basis, and this cannot be prevented since the power cannot be shut down.

3: Compared with other factories in same industrial zone, the current lunch meals for workers can provide enough amount of food to secure full energy for workers to keep working well in the afternoon. However the cooking recipes might not be appetising to some workers. The factory will pay attention on this complaint and improve the meals.

4 and 5:
The normal working time at the factory is from 7:00 to 17:00 which including 1 hour of overtime everyday . So the medical staff and the person in charge of needle changing always stay until that time with workers. Only some specific cases due to rush shipment or repair defected goods, sewing lines have stayed till 18:00. However, factory noted this comment and will improve.

2019-08-09 Remediation

A worker said that the situation has improved but said that workers still work during lunch time.

The factory planned to send their cook to another factory to be trained.

2019-10-28 Verification

FWF conducted an audit in the factory. Issues raised in this complaint were checked by the audit team.

Findings showed that Corrective Actions were followed upon:

1/ the factory turn off power at 17:15, those who need to work overtime after this time must register and must be approved. The security guard checks and ensures no worker stays in the factory without permission.
2/ the company turns off power during lunch time to prevent workers from working. According to visual inspection, and worker interviews, no case of working during break time is allowed.
3/ the factory's manager regularly checks the quality of the meals and the menu is changed daily. Workers interviewed did not complain about the food.
4 and 5/ regular working time is from 7:00 to 17:00, so the medical staff and the person in charge of the needles also work until 17:00 or later in case workers stay after 17:00. Interviewed workers had no comments on these issues.

2019-12-06 Resolved

All issues from the complaint case were followed up upon by the members and the factory by using a Corrective Action Plan. The verification audit from October showed that all issues had been resolved. This case was successfully resolved.