Odd Molly International AB, Complaint 725

Payment of a living wage Reasonable hours of work Legally binding employment relationship

The complainant has been working in the factory for about a year and was present during the last audit. According to the complainant, the workers were coached before the audit and therefore they lied and did not reveal the truth during the audit. Now, the complainant raised issues about-
1. Delayed payment of wages
2. No legally binding employment relationship
3. Lay offs
4. No social security

All workers in the tailoring and cutting sections are engaged on a piece rate basis through Masters who actually work as in-house subcontractors, i.e., they get work from the factory on piece rate basis and get it done by engaging workers. This was a finding of offsite interview but could not be corroborated during the audit. The piece rate workers never get I-cards, salary slips and have no formal employment relationship. I-cards are provided only during audits.

The main issue raised is that payments are not made on time. During the last week of every month, a part of the wages is paid for day to day expenses; worker termed it the 'Kharcha payment'. This was also a finding in the audit and listed as practice of paying wage advances; but the final payment of wages is paid very late, never between the 7th and 10th of the month, and almost always beyond 19th of every month.
Many times, wages are held and not paid until the shipments of those pieces are delivered.
This month's wages have still not been paid, as per 19 June 2019. Due to delayed payment of wages, workers face serious financial issues in meeting daily expenses (like paying room rent, food, fuel etc.).

Piece rate workers report to duty every day. If there is not enough work and they are not to be engaged on particular day, they get this information only after reporting at factory gate for duty. They are not paid any wages for that day, and actually they lose money as their transport cost is wasted.

They rarely earn more than INR 20,000; generally they earn from INR 13,000-14,000 and sometimes up to 20000. This is for 12 hours of work (9 am to 10 pm). The fixed salary of INR 21500 shown on paper is not the actual practice. However, by showing a fixed salary of INR 21,500 the piece rate workers are not covered in social security.

New complaint

This is a new complaint that FWF has just filed. At this point in the procedure, the complaint is pending investigation, and FWF has not yet proven it to be grounded. Updates to the investigation will follow. The brand is requested to share the complaint with factory management and to get their perspective. Ideally, this includes obtaining documental evidence in addition to a statement from management.

Findings and conclusions

Complainant has been working in the factory for about a year and he raised issues on-
1. Delayed payment
2. No legally binding employment
3. Lay off
4. No social security

On hearing the factory's feedback to the complaint , he was called several times throughout Sep to check his response. Since he could not be contacted for further investigation this case is considered as closed.

Overview of the complaint investigation