VAUDE Sport GmbH & Co. KG, Complaint 186

CONCERNING LABOUR STANDARDS
Payment of a living wage Reasonable hours of work
STATUS
Closed
DATE
2016-09-21

According to a complainant, workers at the factory were required to work overtime without time recording and thus without adequate overtime payment. This included women who were pregnant or breastfeeding. Allegedly workers were threatened with being fired

Findings and conclusions

According to a complainant, workers at the factory were required to work overtime without time recording and thus without adequate overtime payment. This included women who were pregnant or breastfeeding. Allegedly workers were threatened with being fired.

VAUDE contacted the supplier and asked for a reply within one week. The supplier indicated the factory does not allow workers to start working early and work during lunch time. According to management, they do not request workers who breastfeed to stay until 5 pm. Factory indicated to have adopted measures such as no electricity before 7.30 am and during lunch time and organizing a meeting with management team to implement policy for corrective actions.

The most recent audit conducted by a FWF team in April 2016 concluded several cases of excessive overtime took place between October 2015 and March 2016.FWF’s complaints handler conducted 9 offsite worker interviews on 13 November and visited the factory for a documents inspection on 16 November. Time-records were checked, and the payroll and incentive bonuses for 4 production lines were reviewed.

Overtime hours worked in case of repairing a defect was not paid correctly. Given that the line leaders could not remember which workers stayed extra time for repairing implies the regular fingerprint time-record registration was not used.The workers interviewed as part of the investigation stated recent improvements have been noticeable regarding hours of work. Factory stopped extending working hours after working time and power is shut off after 20 minutes after regular working time ends. During lunch power and light is shut off as well and workers take a rest during lunch instead of continuing their work/repairs. Workers indicated they feel happy these improvements took place and expect it to continue.

Additional workers that were interviewed in November stated they are satisfied with the improvements that took place. FWF’s complaints handler has not been able to reach the complainant again.

Overview of the complaint investigation

2017-05-11 Investigation

FWF informed VAUDE about the case. VAUDE contacted the supplier and asked for a reply within one week. During a Skype call with factory management the production targets and overtime issues were discussed. The supplier indicated the factory does not allow workers to start working early and work during lunch time. According to management, they do not request workers who breastfeed to stay until 5 pm. Factory
indicated to have adopted measures such as no electricity before 7.30 am and during lunch time and organizing a meeting with management team to implement policy for corrective actions. Management also said to have assigned an HR representative to focus on employee communication and ensure the workers have communication channel to voice out if any violation occurs. The most recent audit conducted by a FWF team in April 2016 concluded several cases of excessive overtime took place between October 2015 and March 2016.
FWF requested VAUDE to collect evidence of the above statements and suggested to send a FWF auditor to conduct a documents check and conduct (offsite) worker interviews. Factory management agreed to send evidence and have a FWF auditor conduct a documents check. VAUDE sent time records of June 2016 that were reviewed by FWF’s complaints handler.
VAUDE and FWF agreed additional investigation was needed. FWF’s complaints handler conducted 9 offsite worker interviews on 13 November and visited the factory for a documents inspection on 16 November. On site, the complaints handler additionally interviewed 8 workers (including 3 pregnant workers and 1 breastfeeding worker), 3 line leaders and a production manager. Time-records were checked from 1 September to 16
November, payroll and incentive bonuses were reviewed of 4 production lines.

2017-05-11 Conclusion of the investigation

Overtime hours worked in case of repairing a defect was not paid correctly. Given that the line leaders could not remember which workers stayed extra time for repairing implies the regular fingerprint time-record registration was not used.
Factory did announce to all workers they can approach HR department to request the overtime reimbursement. The complainant confirmed the overtime hours were now paid correctly.
The workers interviewed as part of the investigation stated recent improvements have been noticeable regarding hours of work. Factory stopped extending working hours after working time and power is shut off after 20 minutes after regular working time ends.
During lunch power and light is shut off as well and workers take a rest during lunch instead of continuing their work/repairs. Workers indicated they feel happy these improvements took place and expect it to continue.
Time records showed pregnant and breastfeeding workers worked 7 hours a day and did no work overtime; they did not check-in before 7:30 and left before 16:25.
From the documents inspection, FWF’s complaints handler concluded the incentive bonuses have been calculated, recorded and paid accurately. However, workers are unaware of how their incentive bonus is calculated.

2017-05-11 Remediation

Factory management must continue to ensure line leaders do not request the workers to stay longer to repair the defected garment without payment. A solution must be found to do repair work during regular hours now that it is no longer possible to do that during lunch time or after work.
All hours should be registered using the finger print time-keeping system. VAUDE is advised to assess in cooperation with the factory how workers can be paid in retrospect for the additional hours that were worked in September and October without registration. In cooperation with VAUDE, factory is requested to set up an action plan to reduce excessive overtime in upcoming peak seasons. In consultation with workers, a solution
must be found for the high production targets that pressure workers. Workers need to be informed on how their incentive bonus is calculated.
It is suggested to conduct a Workplace Education Programme session to raise awareness of labour rights and as a first step for dialogue between workers and management on the issue of working hours.

2017-05-11 Verification

The additional worker interviews and documents inspections led to the conclusions above. FWF will verify VAUDE’s follow up on the remediation during next performance check.

2017-05-11 Evaluation of the complaint

Additional workers that were interviewed in November stated they are satisfied with the improvements that took place. FWF’s complaints handler has not been able to reach the complainant again.

2017-05-11 Closed

This complaint is closed.