The survey was conducted in 2016 in cooperation with the Trade Union Solidarity Centre of Finland (SASK). Measured in terms of the volume of direct imports, four countries from among Kesko’s 10 largest high-risk countries, China, India, Bangladesh and the Philippines, were selected as survey targets. In each of these countries, factories that are Kesko’s current, long time suppliers were chosen as survey targets.
SASK’s local partners interviewed factory employees outside the factories. The aim of the interviews was to find out the views of the factory workers on the general human rights situation at the factory and on whether Kesko’s operations had any particular impacts on the human rights situation at the factory. However, the interviewed workers did not recognise the name ‘Kesko’, which is why information on any particular impacts from Kesko’s operations was unfortunately not obtained.
SASK’s country-specific reports provide valuable information for developing Kesko’s operations, since their point of view is very different from that of the audit reports of the audit systems Kesko uses.
Kesko forwarded the information it had obtained to the amfori BSCI organisation for further development of the audit procedure. The information was submitted mirrored against audit results in general terms without factory or personal information in order not to jeopardise the interviewed workers’ position.
As this survey also shows, all parties – members of amfori BSCI and other audit systems and purchasing chains representatives, states, authorities and NGOs – still have an enormous amount of work to do for human rights to be identified, recognised and implemented equally all over the world in all purchasing chains.
The survey was conducted at two factories, one of which produces carpets and the other one home textiles. The factories are BSCI audited. The survey results are largely consistent with those of BSCI reports, although significant additional information was obtained on practices concerning working hours and contracts of employment, among other things. A great number of employees were missing written employment contracts. Omissions were detected in working hours and overtime pays. Some employment relationships were found to be fragile. Health insurance and employment pension insurance payments of non-permanent employees were found to be defaulted.
At the carpet factory, it was found that a large portion of the employees worked almost every day, excluding an unpaid leave of approximately two weeks at the time of the Chinese Spring Festival. This is likely to reflect the general situation in Chinese factories in remote regions. In order for factories to recruit employees, they must be able to offer equivalent opportunities to work overtime and to earn as other factories in the same region.
The survey was conducted at three factories, one of which a shoe manufacturer and two knitted garment manufacturers. The factories are BSCI audited and/or SA8000 certified. The survey results are largely consistent with the results of the BSCI and SA8000 reports, although significant additional information was obtained on working hour practices, among other things. Omissions were detected in working hours, overtime pays and holiday pays. Employment relationships were found to be fragile. Employee organisations were found to be practically prohibited. Health insurance and employment pension insurance payments were found to be defaulted. In addition, indications of bribery of officials were detected.
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The survey was conducted at two factories, one of which a shoe manufacturer and the other a sportswear manufacturer. Both factories are BSCI audited. The survey results are largely consistent with the results of the BSCI reports, although significant additional information was obtained on practices concerning working hours and contracts of employment. Omissions were detected in working hours and overtime pays. Employment relationships were found to be fragile. Health insurance and employment pension insurance payments were found to be defaulted. In addition, indications of bribery of officials and trade unions were detected.
In addition, appropriate documents and bookkeeping at the sportswear factory were found to be incomplete. Young, over 15-year-old employees have to claim to be 18 in order to get a job at the factory. During the first part of 2016, there had been confusion in the payment of holiday pays, which had caused unrest at the factory. The language of some foremen was told to be inappropriate and offensive. The report presents a view that earning a living wage to provide livelihood for the family requires both parents to have a job.
The shoe factory was found to be one of the most responsible companies in Bangladesh.
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d. The Philippines
The survey was conducted at a factory manufacturing canned tuna. The factory is BSCI audited. The BSCI audit revealed serious malpractice in working hour practices. SASK’s report pays special attention to the fact the majority of the factory workers are hired through so-called multipurpose cooperatives, as a result of which those workers are not covered by the factory’s employment contract system. Problems were also seen in overtime pays and piecework contracts.
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