Odd Molly International AB, Complaint 753

CONCERNING LABOUR STANDARDS
Employment is freely chosen Payment of a living wage Reasonable hours of work Safe and healthy working conditions Legally binding employment relationship
STATUS
Resolved
DATE
2019-07-22

Complainant worked in the company from 21 May to 19 June. Complainant left the job because there was forced and exceptionally high overtime that he was unable to handle. Working hours start from 9:00. Then at 11:00 there is a tea break of 15 minutes. At 13:00 lunch for 30 minutes. Normal working hour ends at 18:00. There is a break for 15-30 minutes and normal OT is up to 21:00-22:00.
In case of urgent shipment it extends till 2 am. If work is incomplete/ order not dispatched then OT is continued up to next day 12 noon. Workers are asked to get leave for one day (but not paid for that)---and next day if they are not well and come little late they are scolded and threatened to be fired--and sometimes actually fired. It is worth mentioning that some workers like pressman have continuously work on standing position. The complainant worked only for one month but faced this situation more than once and was not able to cope with this. Therefore decided to not work in this this company.

He was a pressman and was engaged as piece rate worker through a contractor. He along with other piece rate workers, were not provided with any proof of employment- no ID card, no salary slip. They were provided ID card only during FWF audit and after the audit I-cards were taken back by the contractor and so workers again had no proof of employment
The practice is that the contractor has diary for all piece rate workers and the workers have to write the number of pieces worked on particular day and sign it and give back to contractor each day.

INR 21500 was transferred to the complainant's bank account on 15-16 June 2019 but he was asked to pay two other workers from this amount--8000 to one and 4000 to another (who is still working). These workers do not have bank accounts. The wages were transferred two times and hence there complainant thought that this was only part of his payment and the rest was of these two workers.
During the same time complainant's father had a paralytic attack and was admitted in a hospital in the complainant's native town and so he paid 8000 to one worker, but did not pay the other worker (4000) and rushed to his home town.
Later he contacted the contractor on 12 and 13 July on phone and asked for his remaining payment. However, the contractor said that his all payment had been issued and nothing was left. The complainant asked him to show his diary as he felt that his payment amounting about Rs 4000 was still due. But the contractor said that he is not able to trace his diary.
The complainant requested FWF to help him getting his due payment as he is in serious financial crisis because his father is admitted in hospital and undergoing treatment after paralytic attack.

As the piece diary is with contractor, and complainant did not keep any record with himself, he is not sure of the wages due to him. However, on the basis of memory and comparing with others, he claims that his total wages may be about INR 17000-17500. He has already received INR 21500-8000=INR 13,500. Therefore his wages due may be INR 3500 or 4000.

Overview of the complaint investigation

2019-08-01 Investigation

FWF shared the complaint with the brand and brand in turn has shared it with the factory.

2019-08-29 Investigation

The brand shared the factory' s response with FWF as follows:
This allegation of the worker is completely untrue as management is taking personal care to ensure that the moral of the workers is high and also the working environment is good.

Factory works for nine hours (9:00 to 18:00) with three breaks:
11:00 to 11:15 Tea break / 13.:00 to 13:30 Lunch break / 16:00 to 16:15 Tea break and no overtime is conducted. Management expressed their willingness to share in time and out time records.
They have provided provisions of rest for standing workers which are used whenever required.
All salaries to factory workers and staff are paid by bank transfer only. There are no cash payments hence there is no question of manipulation. The complainant was paid Rs. 10152 by bank transfer towards his/her salary for May 2019 and it is sure that no worker is asked to pay cash to another worker.
All workers in the factory are employed on salary and there are no workers employed through contractors and piece rate systems. ID cards are issued to all workers a few days after joining. Salary slips are regularly issued to all the workers.
There is lot of absenteeism and in many instances workers leave for their villages without notice and it is difficult for management to contact them.

2019-09-04 Investigation

When FWF complaints handler contacted the complainant to check if he/she had received his/her dues, he/she said that the contractor visited him/her and showed him/her the work diary and the due amount was INR 1355.

This amount was paid to the complainant on the condition that he/she provided a written statement declaring that the issues raised were not true. The statement mentioned that the complainant left work without proper notice when he/she received the news about his father’s paralytic attack. Additionally, the statement mentioned that the complainant filed a complaint with FWF for his/her due payments and raised other issues that were not true and now he/she was willing to withdraw this complaint.
Initially the complainant did not want to sign the statement, but then the contractor called the factory and ctold the complainant that if he/she did not sign the statement it would spoil the image of the company. In the end, the complainant agreed to sign.

2019-09-09 Verification

Since the other issues raised by the complainant are structural in nature, they will be verified in the subsequent audit.

2019-09-19 Evaluation of the complaint

It could be verified that the complainant received all his/her dues so this case is resolved as far as the individual grievance is concerned.

2019-09-19 Resolved

This complaint is resolved.