LK International AG (Kjus), Complaint 58

CONCERNING LABOUR STANDARDS
Legally binding employment relationship
STATUS
Resolved
DATE
2013-01-25

The complaint related to the labour standard ‘Legally Binding Employment Relationship’ that is part of FWF´s Code of Labour Practices. The worker informed FWFs complaints handler that she had submitted a resignation application by 31 Dec 2012. According to the worker factory management agreed in December 2012 that the worker could leave the factory on 23 January. The worker was then promised that she could resign earlier than 31 January as she still had 7 days of annual leave prior to her resignation.
According to the worker she was informed on 23 January that she would be required to work until 31 January, and that she would have to work at the factory until that day. According to the worker she had made arrangements in the previous weeks to travel to her hometown for Chinese New Year by train on 29 January 2013.
The worker stated that she would be willing to work the additional days until 29 January, notwithstanding that a different agreement was made previously. However would leave on 29 January. She was afraid that the supplier would withhold (part of) her wage as a way to ensure that the worker would not leave and / or return to the factory after New
Year.

Findings and conclusions

On 25 January 2013 FWF’s complaints handler in China received a complaint from a worker from a factory supplying Kjus (LK International AG). The complaint related to the FWF’s labour standard ‘Legally Binding Employment Relationship’.

The worker informed the local complaints handler that the factory was prohibiting her to resign from the factory per 31 January 2013, despite earlier agreements that were made. The worker needed to leave the factory earlier, due to arragements to visit family for Chinese New Year. Because of time pressure in this case, FWF immediately asked the affiliate LK International AG to contact the supplier and to find a solution acceptable for both management and the worker. When the FWF complaints handler checked the outcome with the worker, he was informed that she had reached an agreement with factory management.

As a result of the rapid and effective action of LK International AG and the willingness of the supplier to facilitate a solution the case could be settled without a detailed investigation.

Overview of the complaint investigation

2013-02-14 Investigation

FWFs complaints handler asked the worker if she could provide evidence of filing her resignation according to legal requirements. The worker informed FWF that she did, but that she was not able so send a copy of her resignation letter and contract to FWF on the same day.
This led to a dilemma for FWF: taking time to further investigate the complaint would at least take until Monday 28 January. Considering the time difference with China little time would be left for discussing the case with the supplier as 26-27 January fell on weekend days.
Due to the time pressure of the complaint FWF did not assess if her claim was grounded. With LK International AG it was agreed that LK International AG would contact the supplier to get an understanding of their perspective on the case and to suggest that a solution be realized that is acceptable for both parties.
This decision was based on the expectation that if the complaint would not be solved before Tuesday 29 January, the complaint would have to be investigated in detail. This would be a complex and costly process for all parties involved.

2013-02-14 Remediation

LK International AG contacted the supplier within hours after FWF informed the company about the complaint and asked the supplier to find a solution that is acceptable for both management and the worker.
From the supplier LK International AG received information that the resignation from the worker had not been approved in December. According to the supplier, the factory rules allow workers to resign from work before the official resignation date on the condition that they can give evidence of special circumstances. According to the supplier the worker was trying to resign early as she would get married in her hometown, but the worker had not given evidence of her wedding which would support her early departure.
The supplier stated that they would have needed information for early leave in order to ensure that workers would only resign early in case of special events.
The supplier informed LK International AG that they had no problem with this specific worker resigning early, but that the factory rules are needed to be generally respected.
LK International AG was informed by the supplier on 28 January that the resignation of the worker had been approved.

2013-02-14 Verification

On 29 January 2013 FWFs local complaints handler in China contacted the worker that had filed the complaint. The worker then confirmed that she had reached an agreement with factory management.

2013-02-14 Evaluation of the complaint

The plaintiff thanked FWF for its commitment to realise a solution. The plaintiff confirmed to contact FWF in case a conflict would occur in the future.
FWF and LK International AG discussed that if time would have allowed, more detailed information from the side of the worker would have been of added value for understanding the complaint in its full context.
As a result of the rapid and effective action of LK International AG and the willingness of the supplier to facilitate a solution the case could be settled without a detailed investigation.

2013-02-14 Resolved

This compliant is resolved.