LK International AG (Kjus), Complaint 524

Payment of a living wage Reasonable hours of work

The complainant works in the packing department of a factory supplying for a FWF member brand. The complainant has been working at this factory for the past year. The complainant claimed that the packing department working hours have always run beyond the stipulated working hours. He/she claimed that the factory timings are 9:00 to 17:30, but the packing department is made to stay until 19:30-20:00. Furthermore, the complainant stated that no extra payments are made in lieu of extra time. There are about 30 people in the department out of which 10 are women. The complainant was scared that he/she will lose his/her job if the management finds out his/her identity.

Overview of the complaint investigation

2018-11-18 Investigation

FWF informed the brand about the case, who in turn informed the supplier and requested a response. The FWF worker interviewer was requested to investigate the complaint through off-site worker interviews. The off-site worker interviews took place on 18 November 2018.

The findings from these off-site worker include:
- Overtime was not a regular feature in the factory, but it has been in practice over the past six months.
- Sometimes, some workers who work in second shift are forced to continue to work until morning and they find it hard to complete their production targets so they are made to work on other days for extra hours without payment.
- Workers are asked to scan their faces at the face scanner at 15.30 and are later asked to do overtime (OT). An OT slip is issued to the worker signed by the HR & General Manager. The total hours of actual OT done is not reflected in the OT slip. Workers are not paid the wages for the unrecorded hours of OT. When workers ask for OT payment, management says they would pay in the next month but is not be paid at all. Workers are often scolded when they ask the management for their due payments.

2018-12-10 Conclusion of the investigation

A FWF audit was conducted in June 2018. The suggested Corrective Action Plan (CAP) and the recent investigation on complaints came to contradictory conclusions with regard to OT and non payment of OT wages..

The offsite interviews during the audit carried responses where some workers mentioned working overtime without payment. However, this information could not be corroborated with either onsite interviews or document inspection, therefore, excessive OT, unrecorded OT hours and non payment of OT wages were not covered in the CAP.

The contrasting response of worker during complaint investigation could be because there has been a recent change in the management who is supposedly very strict and harsh in their dealings. The fear of repercussions may have kept workers guarded during the audit (hence all positive response) but it cannot be said with certainty.

2018-12-10 Remediation

FWF would recommend brand to have a partial audit in this factory in 2019 on admissible labour standards as it is believed that a congenial work environment favour workers which in turn would increase their productivity.

2019-12-27 Verification

Since the audit report and the complaint investigation report came up with contradictory findings it was suggested that a partial audit is conducted in this factory in 2019. However the audit did not happen in 2019 but was planned for early 2020. Meanwhile the brand was bought by a US based company which is not a fair wear brand. In the light of new development a follow up on the situation in this factory cannot be done.

2020-02-12 Closed

This complaint is considered closed since verification is no longer possible.