This is a guest post from Korhan Tinaztepe, Assessment Manager for the Fair Labor Association based in Istanbul.
It has become very fashionable to criticize Codes of Conduct and monitoring, and to hold them responsible for all sorts of unpleasant realities in workplace conditions – from sub-minimum wages to excessive overtime. At one level, such criticisms fail to recognize that wage and hour issues predate the wave of codes and monitoring that arose in the mid-1990s. In fact, codes were a reaction to such basic labor law violations.
Understanding workers’ perception of the factories they work in is essential for management seeking to recruit and retain talented and qualified employees. The Fair Labor Association’s SCOPE Workers’ Surveys are standardized, quantitative questionnaires which are completed anonymously by a randomly-selected, representative sample of workers. SCOPE surveys measure the effectiveness and impact of factories’ social compliance efforts in areas such as hours of work; hiring; communication; and grievance and complaint systems.
Issues: During a 2008 FLA external assessment of a garment factory supplying the SanMar Corporation, FLA assessors found that the factory’s attendance and payroll records were “undependable and unreliable.” There was no way to verify the wages of the factory's 139 workers, resulting in uncertainties such as whether payment was made for all hours worked (production records showed hours worked in factory that were not on payroll records) and whether employees were paid correct wages (for both regular hours and overtime).