Social Fashion Company GmbH (ARMEDANGELS), Complaint 692

Employment is freely chosen There is no discrimination in employment Payment of a living wage Reasonable hours of work

Migrant workers are not granted leave to return home. When they submit their leave application, they are told that their leave cannot be sanctioned as the work would be affected. Also, they frequently must work double shifts. In general, workers do not have any problems with over time (OT), but sometimes they do not want to do it and they are forced to.

Payment of OT is not paid timely. Salary is paid on time, but there is no fixed time for payment of OT, it is always delayed. For example, some workers received their salary on 11 May but OT was not paid. One complainant claimed that his/her OT amounts to be about 80 hours which is around Rs 3000.

Management communicated that OT would be paid on the 15 May. However, workers did not believe it as management regularly delays payments. This is not the case with all workers. Some workers receive their OT payment with the salary but others do not.

Findings and conclusions

The complaint was received on 11 May 2018 and it was claimed that migrant workers were not allowed to take leave and sometimes overtime was forced on them and the payment was delayed at times. The factory denied this and sent their leave policy. When FWF tried to verify with the complainant, calls went unanswered initially and later it was found that the number belonged to a different person. Calls were made again on 15 and 22 July, and 5 and 19 August to check if the complainant could be reached but it was fruitless. Since the complainant could not be reached for further clarification this complaint is considered as closed.

Overview of the complaint investigation

2019-05-31 Investigation

ArmedAngels contacted the factory for feedback. On 24 May 2019, the factory replied the following:

Regarding leave - they do allow migrant workers to take leave but they cannot grant it to too many workers at once as the factory runs continuously. They have a system based on priority and importance. They provided the list of migrant workers to whom they had granted leave.

Regarding overtime work (OT) - they do not force workers to do OT. They have employed more workers and multi-skilled people to solve the problem. When OT is unavoidable, employees can voluntary decide whether to do it or not.

Regarding payment of OT - regularly they pay OT on time with wages, but they will take more care in the future.

2019-07-09 Investigation

On request from the brand, factory has sent the leave procedure format - the procedure for leave application and approval with time frame and answering of leave application.

2019-07-19 Investigation

FWF wanted to check with the complainant on whether the workers were aware of the leave procedure as mentioned by the management. Hence the complaints handler called the complainant several times on July 12 but no one responded the phone.

On 15 July, the complaints handler tried to call the complainant again. Another person picked up the call and said that he did not work at the factory of the complaint case. According to him, some one may have used his phone to call the Fair Wear helpline. The complaint handler called the same number again to check whether the person knew the complainant. However, the number was always busy, and no one picked up the call or called back.

2019-07-21 Conclusion of the investigation

FWF asked the complaints handler to keep trying making contact with the complainant until August. If no one answered by then, this complaint would be deemed closed.

2019-08-19 Closed

Since the contact details provided by the complainant were found to be incorrect and he could not be reached despite the calls made on 15 and 22 July, and 5 and 19 August, this complainant is considered closed.