SANDQVIST Bags and Items AB, Complaint 316

There is no discrimination in employment Safe and healthy working conditions Legally binding employment relationship

The complainant worked as a 'table in-charge' for wallets and claims that, on 13 December 2017, the production manager changed his/her workplace from a table to an open place, even though the complainant wished to continue working at the same table. When the complainant raised this with the production manager, the production manager started shouting, using abusive words. The complainant shouted back. When the second managing director stepped in to break up the fight, the production manager said he would resign if the complainant continued working at the factory. The managing director then asked the worker to leave the factory. The complainant was told that he/she could lodge a complaint and that management would handle this in an audit or official inquiry.

On 16 December 2017, the complainant received INR 9,800 in his/her account. He/she asked what was included in this payment, but received no explanation. His/her monthly salary is INR 9,000.

The complainant shared that when he/she joined the factory, he/she was promised a salary of INR 15,000 but only received INR 9,000. He/she added that overtime work is only given to workers from Kolkata. Additionally there is supposedly a difference in salary between North Indian and South Indian workers.

Overview of the complaint investigation

2018-01-09 Investigation

FWF had received a complaint from the same supplier in 2017 (Complaint No. 267) that also raised the point of wage discrimination between North and South Indian workers. FWF had conducted an investigation in response to this complaint, reviewing three cases of equivalent pay with similar experience from North India and South India.
FWF reviewed the complaint report of this older complaint for this new investigation.

2018-01-09 Conclusion of the investigation

During the process of Complaint No. 267, FWF concluded that the payment system at the supplier was based on the skills and responsibilities of the workers. Factory management conducts an annual assessment of workers based on their skill, the operations they can handle, and their regularity and dependability at work. FWF checked the assessment sheet and found the supplier’s method of assessment satisfactory. During the assessment, workers are informed about how they can improve and move up the pay scale. Because the assessment sheets are confidential and there is very little interaction between Northern and Southern workers (due to a language issue and limited interaction between men and women), there is a feeling of discrimination. Nevertheless, FWF could not confirm any wage discrimination based on the review of the documents. FWF did, however, acknowledge a lack of communication, which could lead to perceived discrimination.

2018-01-09 Remediation

The complaint report for Complaint No. 267 (the previous complaint) included the following remediation points:
- FWF recommended that the factory further train and counsel HR management to improve internal communication.
- FWF recommended that the factory improve internal communication regarding skill assessment and salary grades to ensure workers do not feel any discrimination.

FWF is following up with Sandqvist to determine whether the factory has addressed these remediation points.

2018-07-17 Investigation

A joint meeting with the complainant, factory management and Fair Wear took place in the presence of the Sandquist. The complainant agreed that his table was changed and that he didn't like this change because of which the manager got upset and they were shouting at each other. The management stated that the said manager in question was followed and threatened by the complainant after he (complainant) was terminated from job. However, they agreed that proper procedure was not followed before terminating the complainant.

2018-07-19 Conclusion of the investigation

It was concluded in the joint meeting that since the worker was terminated with immediate effect the factory still needs to pay the notice pay to worker. Keeping in mind that the management suffered from complainant's behaviour (threatening et al.) the management agreed to pay half the notice pay (INR 4500).

2018-09-20 Remediation

Factory management claimed to have paid the complainant an amount of INR 4500 through bank transfer in the month of September. The details of which were sent as supporting document to Fair Wear.

2018-11-26 Verification

After several attempts of reaching to the complainant Fair Wear could finally speak to the complainant who confirmed that he received the said amount.

2018-11-26 Evaluation of the complaint

The complainant confirmed receiving the amount and was happy with it. There is no further grievance from his side. He had found a job in another factory so he was content.

2019-01-09 Resolved

The complainant got the amount that was agreed in the joint meeting and he was happy about it. This complaint is therefore resolved.