On December 14, 2016, the Fair Labor Association (FLA) received a Third Party Complaint from the Sindicato de la Industria Textil Salvadoreña (SITS) alleging violations of the FLA Workplace Code of Conduct at the factory Westtex Apparel, S.A. de C.V. in El Salvador. SITS alleged that a union leader with fuero sindical employment protection was unfairly dismissed, that work schedules did not allow workers sufficient time to take their meals, that production goals were too high for workers to meet within regular working hours, and that managers verbally abused workers. These allegations would breach FLA Workplace Code of Conduct benchmarks in the areas of freedom of association, hours of work, and harassment or abuse.
The investigation of this complaint confirmed allegations of abusive behavior by supervisors, which were remedied by the factory. The assessment did not confirm noncompliances with respect to insufficient time for workers to eat their mid-day meal and excessively high production quotas. With respect to the freedom of association of the dismissed worker, a concurrent inspection by the El Salvador Ministry of Labor was inconclusive as to whether the dismissal followed national law. The claim was subsequently mooted when the worker signed a document stating that he voluntarily resigned.
The FLA urges Fruit of the Loom -- an affiliated company sourcing from this factory -- to work with Westtex to continue to develop the factory’s policies and procedures governing harassment or abuse and grievances, ensuring that they are consistent with FLA benchmarks, and further to train managers, supervisors, and workers on such procedures to ensure that the workplace is free of practices that adversely affect workers. The full report for this complaint appears below.