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The Fair Wear local team in North Macedonia, identified from a media article that the workers from a factory supplying Fair Wear member brands came to work on Monday 25 May 2020. However, 25 May was a national holiday (Enlightenment Day) and the whole country was under curfew (from 11.00 Sunday until 05.00 Tuesday) due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A video of workers coming to work went viral in the media.
According to the article, the factory is not operating at full capacity. Around 60 percent of employees go to work, but this continued even after it was identified that several workers were infected with COVID-19. The supplier in question is considered as one of the infection clusters in this city. After the first infected employees appeared a month ago, some workers commented that those who showed symptoms of the virus were not allowed to be absent from work.
Fair Wear considered this media information as an admissible complaint concerning reasonable hours of work, employment is freely chosen and safe & healthy working conditions.
This is a new complaint that FWF has just filed. At this point in the procedure, the complaint is pending investigation, and FWF has not yet proven it to be grounded. Updates to the investigation will follow. The brand is requested to share the complaint with factory management and to get their perspective. Ideally, this includes obtaining documental evidence in addition to a statement from management.