NEWS

Kfine garment factory forced the workers to work overtime for the three days closure during the flood. Announcing that the attendance bonus will be cut for taking the gate pass

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By Min Ni Kyaw Oct 23, 2023

Garment workers of Bagu-based Kfine (KFINE INTERNATIONAL GARMENT) said that they had to work overtime for the substitution of the 3 days closure during the flood, and they were working overtime at the rate of 2 hours a day. The factory workers said that the factory official told them to work overtime at the rate of two hours a day from Monday to Friday, including four hours of overtime on Saturday. 

For the 3 days that were closed due to floods, 24 working hours wages will not cut from the salary. But they told us to continue to work overtime at the rate of 2 hours after the evening work. We had to work overtime for 4 hours on Saturday. The workers suffer. Overtime should be 2 times the wage, "said the workers.

At the current Kfine garment factory, the hourly wage for 8 hours of normal working hours is 700 kyats per hour, and the overtime wage is 1,400 kyats per hour. If they would cut for the factory’s 3 days closure, 700 kyats per hour for 3 days and only a total of 16,800 kyats should be cut. However, as they call to work substitute hours the workers who deserve 2 times of that wage are not getting it and also not even 16,800 kyats said by the Kfine garment workers. 

“It is not our absent. It is a closure because of the flood. It should be 16,800 kyats if they would cut. But now we can’t go back after the work and they forced us to work for those days. So, we suffer for 16,800 kyats as the overtime wage should be double. Actually, the workers are suffering and the factory is acting like they are kind. And they also said the attendance bonus would be cut for gate pass too,” said a garment worker.

Kfine factory officials called a meeting of all workers on October 18 and said that they will cut hourly wage and 5,000 kyats from the attendance bonus of gate pass takers. The workers said that in the last few months, the hourly rate of getting a gate pass has been cut to 1,400 kyats, and in the current situation, they have made a program to also cut the attendance bonus.

It is acceptable to cut the attendance bonus for an absent. Getting a gate pass is not an absent. Cutting wages means exploiting workers. Workers don't take gate passes unnecessarily. We have to ask the gate pass from steps to step until the HR get a gate pass. The workers take gate pass because of important issues, social and health issues. We don’t take gate pass usually as they are cutting no matter the issues. Right now they would cut 700 kyats from the daily wage and the 5,000 from the attendance bonus. This is for an hour. 10,000 will be cut for taking 5 hour gate pass in a single month. The attendance bonus will not be paid for that month if we take 8 hours gate pass,” a worker said to Myanmar Labour News.

Workers at the Kfine factory said that they forced the workers to sign a certificate accepting the attendance bonus cutting the program. In addition, a Kfine worker explained that some supers and supers in the factory swear rudely at the subordinates 

“The line 8 super uses extremely rude words if the workers have a low quality fabric, she swears us by mentioning her body parts,” said a labour.

There have been frequent complaints to Myanmar Labor News that there is slanders used by supers and all supers inside the Kfine Garment Factory.

The all super that manage line 5, 6, 7 and 8 sworn a girl extremely. The girl even ask the gate pass to go back as she was so embarrassed. But the all super told her to sit down until she finished swearing. Even the other people nearly closed their ears for passive embarrassment. She swears things that no one would like to hear. She is the rudest and the most swearing one in the factory,” said the witnessed worker.

She said that women workers were unable to respond to the slanders because of the difficulties in the employment and had to cry.

"It's a time when employment is difficult so, we have no choice but to tolerate. There is no one who would not embarrass to be publicly humiliated. They would definitely do much. I sympathize, but I don't know how I would respond if I was in the victim’s shoes. In the meantime, the supers collaborated with the Chinese supervisors, and set the standards higher,” a factory worker said. 

The workers said that some of the all supers at the Kfine factory were demanding the standard increases and firing some workers in accordance with the wishes of the Chinese supervisors.

"Some of the workers would get poor records because of health conditions and other reasons. If that's the case, some supers would slander beside. As soon as we didn't get the record, they told the Chinese supervisors and asked them to make warning. Discriminating. The workers were be fired if they have to sign the warning for 3 times. It is easy to lose a job in their favors and there no where we can ask for assistant,” said the workers.

One of the workers said that they saw the factory’s fake actions toward the pregnant woman, while there were inspections by the labor office due to violations in the factory.

“When the labour office came to inspect, they just went to the upstairs, taking documents from the HR and leave after having a meal. As the factory know the inspection in advance they prepare a chair for the pregnant woman in the office to demonstrate that they are assigned for easy tasks and as soon as the inspectors left, they came to take back the chair and force the pregnant woman to work to meet the fabric standards as before,” they said.

Although the Kfine factory was established with foreign investment, the workers said that there are difficulties in using drinking water and toilets inside the factory. Workers told Myanmar Labor News that although there are more than 20 housing units in the factory, there is no safety because there are damaged rooms.

"There are no cups for the workers. The water is provided with a water purifier. We have to bring a cup from home. The other toilets are not safe. Men and women are separate but continuous. Some of the toilets are broken, the smells from the men side came to women side. We don't feel safe because it is in a row, said a female worker.

A worker pointed out that although it is convenient in drinking water supplement currently, it has not been convenient for the last month.

"Previously, the water supply was cut almost full time. During the previous EP, every time we had to work until 7:30 in the evening, the water was cut off at 19:00. At that time, the seamstress got difficulties. For the morning, the water is no longer available at 8:30. I even see that it is done on purpose," she told Myanmar Labor News.

The workers said that although a dispensary was opened in the Kfine factory a few months ago, but without any medicine for current use and they responded they have submitted and waiting for the approval to buy medicines 

"When we went to ask for medicine, we were told that they are waiting for the approval. Each machine line and department are provided with medical bags with no medicines. In addition, if the inspectors come to check, the bags will be filled with medicine. If they went back, the medicines will be taken back. When there is such a thing, we save the salary protrude and buy it ourselves,” the workers told Myanmar Labor News.

The workers said that  KFINE INTERNATIONAL GARMENT factory is currently managed by a Chinese person, brands such as Only, Zara and Balala are being manufactured with around 2,000 workers.


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