Tunisia Complaint Bierbaum Proenen June 2014 Final Report

Final report of a complaint at a factory in Tunisia supplying Bierbaum Proenen

On June 9 and 10 FWF received a complaint from two workers, working for a factory supplying Bierbaum Proenen.

Allegedly, 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 three 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.

FWF planned a verification audit at this factory in 2015 to check the remediation of the complaints. However the factory terminated cooperation with Bierbaum-Proenen mid 2015 which is why the verification audit did not take place.

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