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The complainant claimed that:
- Workers are paid below minimum wage
- There is excessive overtime
- Female workers are given preference for doing overtime.
Salaries for time rate and minimum salary for piece rate is 6000 MUR which is far less than the minimum wage (9000 MUR). However, total earnings of piece rate workers (based on pieces worked) reaches 9000 or even little more by doing overtime. Food allowance is given 1300MUR, however, the complainant indicated that this is not sufficient, and actual food expenses for workers is 2000-3000MUR over and above this allowance.
Fair Wear complaints handler gathered more information from the complainant.
The member company asked for feedback from the supplier. However, due to its closure for the covid-19 outbreak has not been able to respond.
Based on information from the Mauritian auditor the member company uses, it was shared that it was an earlier finding that workers were not always aware about how their wages were calculated, and there have been some recent changes. This will be checked.
After re-starting the operations at the factory, one of the member brand's auditors further investigated the complaint. A meeting was held with 4 leaders representing the Indian team. The issues from the complaint were discussed.
Related to wages, it was made clear that the basic rate for local Mauritians is Rs9000 and expatriates Rs6275. The difference between the two amounts account for meal allowance, free lodging and free utilities for the expatriate workers, which are not available for the Mauritian workers. As per legal statutory, overtime is calculated on the minimum basic of Rs6275 for both locals and expatriates.
The leaders stated that actually there is a small minority of Indian colleagues who do not worker overtime on a regular basis, but the reasons are unclear for them. The member brand's auditor agreed to look into the issue together with factory management, in order to ensure a fair distribution of overtime, as soon as the factory resumes working extra hours.
An explanation from the auditor on the wage calculations was shared with Fair Wear, including a scan of a written paper seen by the workers present in the meeting.
Based on the information shared with Fair Wear, we are able to conclude that the complaint was partially grounded.
There might be confusion among workers about the calculation of their wages, but payment below minimum wage is not found.
Other workers and the auditor indicated that there is no excessive overtime.
However, not all workers are treated equally regarding overtime. Workers confirmed that not everyone is given the same amount of overtime and some workers never do overtime.
The member brand should follow up with the factory to ensure that no discrimination takes place regarding overtime.