IETP provides a free grievance mechanism to all workers in our program, the Worker Helpline has been in operation for over 10 years and has supported around 19000 factory workers. The Helpline remains a confidential service and the story used in this article protects and upholds the anonymity of the concerned.
A factory worker resigned from their position and purchased a train ticket to return to their hometown, however, the HR Department would not process their resignation request or issue their final salary payment; worried that they would not get paid before their departure, they called the IETP Worker Helpline for assistance.
With permission from the confused worker, our Helpline Specialist spoke with their factory management to gain further understanding of the situation. Our Specialist established that the HR Department could not process their resignation because they had not followed their internal procedure, which requires resignations to be submitted in writing.
Our Helpline specialist identified a misunderstanding between the worker and the HR department, IETP explained the situation to both parties and worked with the factory management who subsequently agreed to make an exception for this worker. The factory worker was then released from their employment contract and paid their outstanding salary, even though they had not followed the required resignation procedure.
To prevent a similar issue from happening again, our Helpline Specialist provided recommendations on how the factory could effectively communicate the procedures and regulations in place to their workers in the future.
This is one of the many cases that demonstrates how the IETP Worker Helpline fosters positive and productive exchanges between factory management and workers. The purpose of the Helpline is to inform, educate and empower workers so they can effectively manage work-related issues; also acting as a confidential grievance mechanism when required. The Helpline bridges communication between factory workers and management and provides an effective labor dispute mechanism for workers within the IETP program.
The IETP Worker Helpline was established in 2010 and primarily supported workers and IETP factory members based in mainland China; the free service later expanded to Vietnam in April 2021.
In the first half of 2021, the Worker Helpline received a total of 753 calls (126 calls per month) and escalated 25 cases to the IETP team for further action. Information and feedback received during calls from factory workers directly reflects and illustrates current workplace conditions; this helps increase supply chain transparency.
Insights gathered from the Helpline also helps buyers to understand the areas of vulnerability and address potential risks in their supply chain. Some buyers consider the levels of follow-up action taken by the suppliers as an indication of their commitment to ethical manufacturing, helping them to select strategic suppliers for long-term collaboration.
Our IETP Worker Helpline is highly valued by workers, factory management and buyers alike, to learn more about the helpline and its operating hours, please click here: https://www.ethicaltoyprogram.org/en/our-program/worker-engagement/worker-helpline/