Takko Holding GmbH, Complaint 246

CONCERNING LABOUR STANDARDS
Payment of a living wage Safe and healthy working conditions
STATUS
Resolved
DATE
2017-06-07

According to the complainant, the supervisor from the line frequently shouts and physically touches (slaps) workers in order to reprimand them for mistakes made. With the agreement from the Chinese manager, the supervisor deducts 1,000 – 2,000 kyats from each worker from the line whenever the respective line received a rejection from QC for their products.

Findings and conclusions

On 7 June 2017, FWF received a complaint from a leader from a production line who has been working at the factory for over a year. According to the complainant, the supervisor from the line frequently shouts and physically touches (slaps) workers in order to reprimand them for mistakes made. With the agreement from the Chinese manager, the supervisor deducts 1,000 – 2,000 kyats from each worker from the line whenever the respective line received a rejection from QC for their products.

On 19 June 2017, FWF got an update from the complainant. She was asked by the management to sign a warning letter for a complaint submitted by 13 workers. She was first asked to accept a demotion because she was told that she managed the workers in her line poorly. She refused to accept that option and asked the management to terminate her with the compensation if they would do it because she would lose her face.

FWF decided that the case is admissible on 07 June 2017. The FWF country representative and Takko local staff went to the factory on 21 June 2017 to investigate further. A total of 20 people were interviewed. The supervisor admitted that she patted the worker with anger because she made mistakes several times. Through the interviews, FWF concluded that some workers were indeed discriminated by the line leader.

Following the investigation, FWF suggested several specific points for remediation. In response, the factory manager told all the supervisors that verbal abuse and psychical touching to reprimand workers is not acceptable. In addition, it was confirmed that the issuing of monetary fines for making mistakes was stopped immediately by the supervisor. The line leader (the complainant) said that she is satisfied that the supervisor changed her behavior, and they can still work together. She would also take the responsibility for her mistakes, and improve for the better.

Overview of the complaint investigation

2017-06-29 Investigation

FWF country representative and Takko local staff went to the factory on 21 June 2017 to investigate further. A total of 20 people were interviewed, including the plaintiff, the supervisor, three workers’ representatives, and the Chinese manager.

2017-06-29 Conclusion of the investigation

The supervisor admitted that she patted the worker with anger because she made mistakes several times.
The supervisor taught the worker how to correct/do things, and always checked if she understood. The worker said that she understood, but then still made mistakes. The worker also responded her in a disrespectful manner, and therefore, the supervisor was upset, and patted (or slapped) the worker in her anger.
There was a practice that the worker paid a monetary for their mistakes.
The supervisor is responsible for Hand Stitch section. She said that she had to do the repairs of the workers because there were piles of repairs at the Repair section. She could not wait for their turn as she faced pressure from the management to meet the targets. Most of the time, the flaws came from the Linking section. Therefore, she is helping in repairing and it has become the practice. The workers came and gave her the repairs, and she is handling repairs, daily supervision, and daily records. She felt overloaded and therefore decided to adopt the rule to issue monetary fines to workers who made mistakes.
The warning letter for the line leader is not related to her call to FWF.
During the investigation process, the line leader was given a warning letter on 19 June 2017 regarding the complaint issued collectively by 13 workers in her line. There are three reasons:
- Recording incorrectly the number of products finished by the worker
- Shouting at the workers
- Having the favouritism in distributing the clothes
As a result, 13 workers wanted to move to another line, while another 13
workers indicated that they would prefer to stay. FWF interviewed 7 workers from each group. In addition, FWF interviewed the workers’ representatives who got involved in handling the complaint from the workers.
FWF concluded that some workers were indeed discriminated by the line
leader. She recorded the quantities of products with a pencil, and the workers found it incorrect when they glanced at the record submitted by the line leader to the supervisor because the line leader did not allow the workers to check their daily record. Those workers could not finish the same quantities of the products compared to those who received the easy points from the leader. The bonus system at the factory is focusing on the number of products, and consequently, the workers who always get the difficult points earn less bonus then the others. Therefore, workers lost their trust in her, and wanted to move to another line.

2017-06-29 Remediation

FWF recommendations
- Issuing of monetary fines to workers who made mistakes should be
stopped.
- The supervisor should receive support to manage her workload.
- Ensure that there is a system for proper/transparent distribution of
clothes/points and record transparently the quantities of products
allocated to each worker.
- The two resigned workers should be given the opportunity to be
reinstated if they so desire.
- Ensure that there is a written disciplinary policy regarding warnings so
that every worker is aware of their expected workplace behaviour. And
it is to avoid issuing the warning letter by the request of the worker.

2017-06-29 Verification

The factory manager told all the supervisors that verbal abuse and psychical touching to reprimand workers is not acceptable. The supervisor promised that she would never do it again. The complainant confirmed that the supervisor’s behaviour has indeed changed
(no shouting, no abusive words, no physical touching) and she is happy about that.
In addition, it was confirmed that the issuing of monetary fines for making
mistakes was stopped immediately by the supervisor.
The management will help coordinate the Linking section with Hand stitch section so that less work for the supervisor for the repairs.
The workers said that the line leader also changed her behaviour. They are now happy with the distribution of clothes and agreed to record the quantities signed by both parties. The management said that they would have a board for the lines in which the quantities of products by each worker is recorded transparently and it is visible for everyone to check.
The two workers that resigned confirmed that they have immediately found jobs at another factory and were satisfied with that. They did not want to be reinstated.
Regarding the warnings, the management would include it in the employment contract in accordance with the existing laws.

2017-06-29 Evaluation of the complaint

The line leader (the complainant) said that she is satisfied that the supervisor changed her behavior, and they can still work together. She would also take the responsibility for her mistakes, and improve for the better.
Other workers in the line also confirmed the changes in behavior and way of working with them by the supervisor and leader, and they are satisfied with that.

2017-06-29 Resolved

This complaint is resolved.