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The worker wants to complain about two issues at the factory:
1/ Poor meals: quality of food (not enough calories) and lack of hygiene
2/ Too much overtime and Sunday work: workers have to work overtime until 20:00 or 21:00 every day, about 70~80 hours/month since January. Workers have to work on some Sundays, from 3~4 Sundays in June and July.
According to the complainant, workers can work overtime about 12 hours/week and they want to have one day off in a week. The complaint handler suggested the worker should contact the internal grievance system first but he/she said he/she does not want to lose his/her job and no one would solve it.
An audit was already scheduled for 14 August, so the local team would use the opportunity to investigate the claims of the complainant. Auditors shared pictures of the meals and overtime records with the member, following a request and in order for the member to follow up on the complaint.
Audit findings confirmed the complaint:
From the interview, most interviewed workers suggest that the factory should improve the meals, including the quality of food and hygiene. The current meals do not provide enough calories and lack hygiene.
2. Excessive overtime (OT):
• Actual working hours of workers before June 2019 could not be verified due to discrepancies between worker interview and records provided. Additionally, the time recording system was said to be broken on the 2nd audit day. Based on a review of time records and payroll of resigned workers from January to July 2019, the payroll of resigned workers showed that workers worked on 1 Sunday in May 2019 and worked overtime from 42 to 55.5 hours in May 2019 while the time records and payrolls provided to auditors showed no Sunday work and no cases worked more than 30 hours on May 2019.
• From review time records of 31 monthly cases from December 2018 to July 2019, it is noted that:
The maximum monthly OT hours are from 10 hrs/month to 24 hours/month from December 2018 to May 2019.
The maximum monthly OT hours are 68 hours in June and 81.5 hours in July 2019. The average monthly OT hours are 45.87 hours in June and 51.03 hours in July. It is noted that 25 out of 31 reviewed cases worked overtime in excess of legal limit (30 hrs/month) and Code limit (12 hours/week).
There were approximately 20 out of 31 reviewed cases worked from 1 to 4 Sundays in June and 17 out of 31 reviewed cases worked from 1 to 3 Sundays without compensating day off.
• From review of the OT registration sheets from 1st ~ 12th of August 2019, it is noted that workers worked overtime more than 4 hrs/day (from 16:30 to 21:00), 115 workers worked on Sunday, 4 August and 37 workers worked on Sunday, 11 August.
The factory communicated to the member Salewa that:
- Meals are cooked by an outsourced supplier. For each meal/worker the cost is VND13000 which includes at least 1 meat/2 vegetables (sometime 2 meats/1 vegetable)/1 soup/ unlimited rice.
Compared to other factories in the area, the meals are supposed to be aligned with the standard level.
The factory states that they are working with the meal outsourcing supplier to serve better meals for workers.
The factory stated that they would “organise the production space schedule better for future production to avoid the overtime and Sunday work”.
The quality supervisor of the member will go on-site in a few weeks to follow up on the complaint issues.
The complainant and another worker were contacted by the complaint handler.
- Meals: both workers said that they do not see any improvement in food, either in quality or quantity. The price of a meal at other companies in Suoi Tre Industrial Zone is about 16,000VND ~ 17,000VND while a meal at Kowide is 13,000VND.
- Overtime: overtime hours seem to have decreased slightly. Workers worked overtime until 20:00 n September and October (in July and August, they worked until 21:00 some days of the week) and no Sunday in September and two Sundays in October.
The brand discussed the overtime issue with the factory which replied that it is caused by delay in the supply chain.
Some of their suppliers shipped materials after the agreed date and since the factory could not delay their delivery date, they had to produce with overtime. The factory stated that this season was the worst case that happened so far.
The production planning usually allows to keep overtime work within legal limits. It seems that overtime was not caused by Salewa, but by external causes. However, the member is developing a tool for better understanding of overtime situation while its items are in the production line.
The member is waiting for feedback of their Quality Control Specialist will be able to visit the factory. He will also be involved in the follow-up of the overtime analysis tool.
In November, Fair Wear and Salewa discussed more about both issues.
From the factory, it is said that the overtime was not created by Salewa but due to some late deliveries of their own suppliers.
Salewa is working on a tool to gather more information about root causes of overtime, and Kowide is one of the first factories to fill in the data.
The Quality Controller of Salewa visited the factory to analyse the meals, he took and shared pictures and estimated that the meals seemed to be sufficient and that workers even had a vegan option of they would order in advance.
Salewa's Quality Controller visited the factory and had lunch there, he shared that the food, preparation, cleanliness, amount and organisation is fine. For his western taste the food was good. The factory also has a vegetarian choice if ordered one day in advance.
However, the worker said that there was no improvement so far in food, either quality or quantity. The workers said that because the workers have to work overtime, the food is not providing enough energy for long day work. They cannot eat more (for additional energy) after work because they do not have time for that.
Both issues seem to remain closely linked. Thus, Fair Wear asked the member to clarify the overtime root causes and work on a plan to reduce overtime with the factory.