intermediate REPORT COMPLAINT IN Tunesia AT FACTORY SUPPLYING Bierbauw proenen
On June 9 and 10 FWF received a complaint from two workers, working for a factory supplying Bierbaum Proenen. The complaints related to the labour standards ‘Safe and healthy working conditions’ and ‘Legally-binding employment relationship’ which are both part of FWF’s Code of Labour Practices.
One day after a FWF audit the Tunisian manager of the factory had a meeting with workers who were interviewed during the audit and questioned them. After a dispute between manager and workers, several female workers were not allowed to work for 3 days, using an excuse of quality and productivity issues. For one of them work was stopped indefinitely. Above issues were backed up by signed suspension notices that were all dated a few days after the meeting took place and were for relatively light infractions. Since the meeting, workers were also asked to sign only short-term (1-3 month) labour contracts, some after having worked for more than a year without having to sign new contracts.
It seems that the signing of short-term contracts could have been used as a means to control workers and make them scared. Bierbaum-Proenen must address this issue with factory management. An active policy should be installed on appropriate and proportionate disciplinary measures at the factory. During the meeting held on November 25, factory management presented a number of steps the factory will take to prevent similar issues in the future. All workers were allowed to return to work.