MANROOF GmbH, Nudie Jeans Co., Complaint 711

Employment is freely chosen Payment of a living wage Legally binding employment relationship

The complainant had been working as a tailor in the factory for the last few years. As a practice, once in a while he/she would be asked to work along with the piece rate workers (The factory has piece rate workers coming and working as and when there is a requirement).

On 23 April 2019, he/she was asked to work along with some piece rate workers. He/she agreed and did work for few days. He/she wanted to get back to his/her own jobs in his/her batch. So he/she requested the ID [when asked for the expansion of ID, the complainant was unable to provide it] to put him/her back to the tailoring job.

ID got angry and took his own phone and banged it on the table against the machine and his phone broke into pieces. He then went on to complain to the General Manager that he/she was not agreeing to work in the job assigned by him. Complainant went ahead and explained what had happened. The General Manager viewed the friction between the ID and complainant on the CCTV footage. He then warned the ID not to repeat the incident and asked the complainant to return back to work.

The next day, i.e on 24 April, 2019 the ID, HR Manager and Production Manager asked the complainant to go back and work with the piece rate workers. The complainant said he/she will not be able to work if he/she is continuously being harassed.

ID, Production Manager & HR Manager asked him/her to give resignation and leave the job if he/she is not willing to work. He/she went ahead and gave his/her resignation but they did not accept it. He/she was upset with the incidents and he/she decided to tell them that he/she needed to go to the village and left the premises. He/she went back on 26th April,2019 and gave his/her resignation. He/she had hinted that he/she has resigned due to work torture.

Complainant was asked to come to the factory on 25th May 2019 to collect his/her settlement and other dues. Accordingly he/she went on the same day. HR Manager asked his/her to sign a document. When he/she looked at the total amount in his/her dues, he/she had got only INR 8000. When he/she asked about his/her leave balances and other payments, he/she was humiliated by the management that he/she did not know what a settlement was or how to calculate it. Complainant added that the management yelled at him/her and sent him/her back.

Overview of the complaint investigation

2019-07-08 Investigation

Fair Wear (FWF) shared the complaint with the brand and brand in turn shared it with the factory. On 20 July, factory responded which is:

1. Said employee is categorised as highly paid, multi skilled employee and as per company policy, he/she has to fill in when there is heavy absenteeism in particular section on particular day. Employees will be interchanged based on styling requirements and related skill availability. This is standard policy in any manufacturing facility and if employee is refusing to do this without a valid reason, we will have to inquire into the reasons. In this particular case, it was requested in the past and we accepted the illogical refusal few times but if it was continued purely based on personal history between few other employees in that particular floor, we will have to inquire further and take action.

We can assure you that there is no ‘threatening’ by any supervisor or management or HR. In fact, we were told that they will ‘teach a lesson’ to the management by complaining to NGO and close the factory within a matter of few weeks. Family members of the said employee came with few others and started threatening other employees and the management. We had bitter experience in the past where we were pushed to almost close the factory and we had to take action to protect our company existence.

2. Precisely for this reason, we had CCTV installed in all the floors and we will be more than happy to provide access to all the footage to FWF or any other representative. They can go through the footage and see whether there are any verbal abuse or highhandedness by the supervisors or any other staff.

3. We are always open for improvement and take stringent action if any supervisor or staff is not in alignment with our company ethics/polices. In this regard, we will be happy to send the supervisors for further FWF training as we found the earlier ones were quite impacting.

4. Payment settlement - We have attached the settlement issued to the employee on due date and all the calculations were explained. Employee was asking about gratuity for which he/she is not eligible (As per Indian labour law, employee will be eligible only after 5 years of continued employment).

Fair Wear's complaints handler will check with the complainant on this.

2019-07-31 Investigation

Complaints handler contacted the complainant and checked if he/she had understood and agreed to what the factory has explained. He/she said that he/she had other leaves and he/she was supposed to be reimbursed for them as well. He/she added that he/she needs an explanation from the management on this.

2019-07-31 Conclusion of the investigation

Factory management is advised to share the record of his/her leave balance with the complainant as a proof that the payments were done in accordance with what was legally due to the complainant.

2019-10-23 Verification

Fair Wear contacted the complainant to check about the payment. The complainant was not happy with the settlement made because he/she believes he/she is entitled for other leaves and he/she was supposed to be reimbursed for them as well. He/she added that he/she needs an explanation from the management on this.

2020-02-13 Verification

Factory was requested to explain the payment details to the complainant and factory has responded that that the complainant is welcome to visit and do the verification himself/herself.

FWF would contact the complainant to check if he/she is willing to go the factory with FWF local team to clear the doubts.

2020-03-02 Closed

Complainant was called on 24 February 2020 to check if he/she was willing to go the factory along with a local team member from Fair Wear to clear his/her doubts on his/her settlement issues with the management. Complainant said that he/she was not interested in pursuing the case and she expressed his/her unwillingness to go to the factory as he/she has started working with another factory. He/she said that it would be difficult for his/her to take leave. Complainant was again called on 29 February to recheck his/her stand and it looked like she is no more interested in continuing the case. Since the complainant has dropped the case, it is closed.