Takko Holding GmbH, Complaint 118

CONCERNING LABOUR STANDARDS
There is no discrimination in employment Safe and healthy working conditions Legally binding employment relationship
STATUS
Closed
DATE
2014-08-10

The complainants called FWF’s helpline and claimed that a worker was missing after a big argument with the production manager. Workers suspected that the management of the factory abducted him. After a few days the missing worker was found and looked healthy but was fired from the factory because of his absence. The missing person and his family were not allowed to discuss with anyone about the incidence.
All workers went on silence strike the same day and demanded the management to release the missing worker.

Findings and conclusions

On 10 August FWF received a complaint through it’s local complaints handler from a worker working for a factory supplying Takko. The complaint related to the labour condition ‘safe and healthy working conditions’, which is part of FWF’s Code of Labour Practices.

The complainants called FWF’s helpline and claimed that a worker was missing after a big argument with the production manager. Workers suspected that the management of the factory abducted him. After a few days the missing worker was found and looked healthy but was fired from the factory because of his absence. The missing person and his family were not allowed to discuss with anyone about the incidence. The police office refused to provide information to FWF. At this point, FWF is not able to verify the situation.

All workers went on silence strike the same day and demanded the management to release the missing worker. During the investigation process the factory filed a court case against 93 employees, who were believed to behave violently during the demonstration. The factory also blacklisted 13 workers and put their photos up in front of the factory. The 13 workers who were blacklisted said that the factory took their photos off the announcement, but their reputation was ruined. The management requested the court not to punish the 93 workers, who are now all working at other factories. All workers were bailed out and the case will automatically expire in one year if the workers are not involved in other cases.The 93 workers are working in other factories. Workers interviews could not confirm the details, but most workers informed FWF that the 93 workers were not in jail.

The factory had taken off the pictures of the 13 blacklisted workers in August, according to visual inspection of FWF local team. The pictures were not posted again when the team visited the factory in December 2014. Workers interviews confirmed the situation. The complainants were in general satisfied with the result.

Overview of the complaint investigation

2014-09-25 Investigation

FWF informed Takko Fashion about the case on 11 August. The local office of Takko fashion immediately contacted the factory for more information. According to the information from the factory until 12 August, the missing person was found by the police and currently in police’s custody. The factory remained closed since 11 August for at least three days. Around the same time, workers organised demonstrations inside the factory.
Takko Fashion local office tried to organise a meeting for FWF to interview the factory management, but it was not possible in August to meet with the factory management when the issue was highly sensitive.
FWF local team conducted an offsite workers interview for three days with at least 30 workers about the situation in the factory. The workers confirmed that there had been police investigation in the factory.

2014-09-25 Conclusion of the investigation

Due to the fact that it was not possible to meet with the factory management at that time, it was not possible to investigate and come to a conclusion on the issue. Although the factory claimed that the missing person was found on 12 August, he was only brought to the factory by the police on 25 August. The workers confirmed to FWF local team that the missing worker was found. The missing person and his family were
not allowed to discuss with anyone about the incidence. FWF’s local team could not get any information about what happened with the person since he was reported missing.
During the investigation process, some workers called FWF’s helpline on 16 August that the factory had filed a court case against 93 employees who were believed to behave violently during the demonstration. The factory also blacklisted 13 workers and put their photos up in front of the factory.

2014-09-25 Remediation

The missing person was found.
With regard to the situation of 93 workers being sued and 13 workers blacklisted, the local office of Takko fashion contacted the factory on 16 August to discuss the issue. The factory believed that the court case was justified and the workers should be punished for their violent behaviour. The factory did not comment on blacklisting the workers but agreed to take off the pictures.
FWF local team conducted an offsite workers interview and observed outside of the factory for the claims. The factory met with FWF local staff to discuss the case on 11 September.
According to workers’ testimonial from random workers interviews, some workers did use violence against some management staff and factory properties due to the anger during the demonstration in 11-13 August. But the workers believed that the factory also did not communicate with them properly and harassment was common before the
demonstration.
FWF local team also interviewed about 10% of the 93 workers. They agreed that they should not have used violence and would like to negotiate with the factory management.
The 13 workers who were blacklisted said that the factory took their photos off the announcement, but their reputation was ruined. They would like to sue the factory for damaging their reputation.
The factory had taken off the pictures of the 13 workers in the end of August. FWF local team suggested to both factory management and workers to drop court cases and discuss the issues together. The factory management told FWF local team that it would consider dropping the court case.
Takko Fashion’s local office was in contact with the factory management to get regular updates on the case.

2014-09-25 Verification

At least three workers plus representatives of the anti-harassment committee of the factory confirmed that the missing person was found and looked healthy in August. The missing worker had returned home but fired by the factory. The management said the worker was fired because he was kept in jail by the police. The current labour law does
not require compensation in such situations.
According to workers interviews, the missing worker and his family could not discuss the case with anyone besides the police. The police office refused to provide information to FWF. At this point, FWF is not able to verify the situation. According to the factory and confirmed by other workers, the missing person was paid until the month of July.
FWF local team discussed with the factory in December 2014 about the court case. The management said they had not withdrawn the case from court. However they requested the court not to punish the 93 workers. All the workers were bailed out and the case will automatically expire in one year if the workers are not involved in other cases. The 93
workers are working in other factories. Workers interviews could not confirm the details, but most workers informed FWF that the 93 workers were not in jail.
The factory had taken off the pictures of the 13 blacklisted workers in August, according to visual inspection of FWF local team. The pictures were not posted again when the team visited the factory in December 2014. Workers interviews confirmed the situation.

2014-09-25 Evaluation of the complaint

The complainants were in general satisfied with the result.

2014-09-25 Closed

This complaint is closed.