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The complainant reported to Fair Wear that factory management was registering her as a 'Resigned Worker' as she could not come back to work after the water festival holiday. The water festival holiday takes place from 10 to 19 April. The complainant stated that her original plan was to come back before 20 April but due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the bus companies decided to temporarily stop the service and gave the passengers a full refund. While she was hoping for the bus services to start again, the government made another announcement that the semi-lockdown period had been extended to 15 May.
The factory informed the workers via the supervisors that they should return to work no later than 5 May. The workers who do not return by 5 May will be automatically regarded as 'Resigned Workers' i.e, they will be dismissed without any compensation. Since then, the complainant has been contacting her colleagues and supervisor to let them know that she would not be able to make it before 5 May. The complainant stated that she did not remember how many times she called the supervisor but she did call her and ask for unpaid leave. However, she was told that since the factory was already on long holiday, they could not provide anymore leave and that if she is unable to come back by 5 May, she will be registered as 'Resigned'. On 4 May, the complainant contacted the Fair Wear complaints hotline and asked for help. She is still looking for possible means of transportation back to Yangon as soon as possible. However, she also wants to know if she would be accepted at the factory, because if the factory does not accept her, she will be stuck in Yangon, jobless.
The factory confirmed the claim and explained why they had to make such decision. According to the factory, after their announcement of automatic dismissal for the workers who could not get back to work on 5 May, about 100 workers managed to return to work. Therefore, they are concerned that if they accept the workers who could not come back on time, it would be unfair to those who managed to return, despite the hardships they faced.
The complaints handler checked in with the complainant about her current situation. As such, the complaints handler learnt that the complainant was planning to hire a truck with her friends to come back to Yangon. The complainant furthermore stated that she would be willing to sacrifice her 2-year-seniority and start again as a new worker. However, she needs to be guaranteed that she still has her job before she comes back because without it she will be jobless and stuck in Yangon. Fair Wear suggested to the brand that they appeal to the factory to show lenience and take the worker back.
The factory stated that since the complainant had left for more than a month, her position had been occupied. However, factory management did say that they would keep in touch with the complainant to rehire her if they had a job vacancy in the future.
The complainant was informed by the complaint handler that the factory would keep in touch with her and rehire her if they had job vacancy in the future. The complainant stated that she was recently contacted by her supervisor and informed the same. She is now back to Yangon and had been recruited by a nearby factory. She stated that she would be waiting for the factory to contact and rehire her in the future.
The complaint has been closed.