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The complainants provided information that there is child labour in the factory and that workers' original documents are retained by factory management. It was added that factory management threatened that they would destroy those documents should workers raise complaints. According to the complainants, salary distribution is not done for those who are not under payrolls. Furthermore, the complainants stated that workers are beaten for small mistakes. The complainants are also very concerned as management has previously worked together with the police against workers who raised complaints. The complainants furthermore said that there is gender based violence as management makes sexually coloured remarks.
The complaint was shared with the brand. Given the sensitivity of the complaint Fair Wear proposed to conduct offsite interviews and to plan an unannounced visit to the factory. The proposal was accepted by the brand immediately.
As planned, an unannounced visit was made to the factory on 5 February to investigate the issues raised in the call. Factory management was fine with the investigation, cooperated and allowed the team access to the factory site, documents and worker interviews. The documents inspected included personnel files, wage slips, in time/out time records, the minutes of committee meetings and the CCTV footage of various days. Off-site workers interviews were also conducted on 6 February with both male and female workers from different departments as part of the investigation.
The investigation was structured around the labour standards as follows:
1. Employment is freely chosen: The total strength of the workers is 109 which includes 47 male and 62 female workers. Personnel files are maintained for all the workers and the team verified that original documents are not being retained. The personnel files contain the details as required by law and the team could not find anything objectionable.
2. No exploitation of child labour: A physical walk through of the factory floor was conducted to see if there were any incidences of child labour/juvenile workers that was not picked up on during the document inspection. The walk through did not raise any suspicions of child labour. Furthermore, the factory has a proper age verification system. The personnel files of the workers contain valid documents on age verification which is issued by the Government of India. It was noticed that temporary workers are provided with ID cards on which their date of birth is mentioned. It was concluded that there is no exploitation of child labour at this factory.
3. Payment of a living wage: Bio metric system is used to track attendance and the time card is maintained for all workers. During the offsite interviews, workers were asked whether they have seen or hear about any movement of unregistered or contractual workers. All the workers interviewed stated that there are no unregistered workers.
4. Safe and healthy working conditions: All interviewed workers said that there is no harassment/abuse at the factory. The minutes of the Internal Committee meetings [meetings proposed by the government to prevent workplace harassment] were checked. The team was able to determine that meetings are conducted every two months and there is external representation as required by law. In the minutes there was not record of reported gender-based violence.