On March 4, 2013, the Fair Labor Association (FLA) sent a letter to Peruvian President Ollanta Humala Tasso raising concerns over legislation that currently permits the employment of workers through the use of repeated short-term employment contracts. Short-term employment contracts do not provide stability of employment, and often erode access to fundamental labor rights.
Workers are the ones most exposed and vulnerable when market conditions push companies and suppliers to reduce employment, of either a portion or the entire workforce. Many countries legally mandate payment of severance - typically calculated based on job tenure - when partial or full retrenchments arise, but there is generally no requirement in domestic law to create a fund to ensure that the factory is able to meet its severance liabilities.
On October 23, 2012, at the request of the adidas Group, the Global Forum for Sustainable Supply Chains will convene a multi-stakeholder meeting of companies, international institutions, insurance experts and civil society to discuss the possible creation of a private fund or insurance product that would provide additional coverage to workers affected by factory closures and non–payment of wages and benefits. The purpose of this meeting is to explore solutions to problems facing workers who do not receive the severance pay and benefits owed by their employers when a factory shuts down.
When Estofel, S.A. of Guatemala City, Guatemala, shut down in late 2007, a number of FLA affiliates—including the University of Washington, Gear for Sports, Hanesbrands and Philips-Van Heusen—led an effort with Ghim Li and the Collegiate Licensing Company that resulted in severance payments to 871 former Estofel workers from the parent company of the closed facility. Read more.
Rohini Chandrasekaran, FLA’s Agriculture Program Coordinator, recently visited several Syngenta-contracted farms producing hybrid vegetable seeds in India. Syngenta is a Participating Company in the FLA. One of the objectives of her trip was to learn more about the impact of Sygenta’s affiliation with FLA on the lives of workers. This is a guest post from Rohini.
FLA’s progress tracking charts (PTCs) use key performance indicators to document and illustrate the impact of capacity building measures taken by a factory after receiving training in a certain area. For each FLA Toolbox – Hours of Work, Grievance Procedures, Fair Wages, etc. – a set of key indicators have been developed to collect quantitative data and a structured reporting sheet to collect qualitative information like opinions, feelings, and experiences from the workers and management.