Challenge: Project activities must attract employees’ attention and active participation and help increase their awareness of employees’ rights and responsibilities.
Most garment factory employees are migrants and have many concerns regarding earning a living and their daily living costs. Since many employees are paid by piece rate, to date they have not been interested nor actively participated in the project activities despite factory support, including paying for the time they spend attending project training or communication events.
Information related to labor laws and employees’ rights and responsibilities are usually disseminated passively through the induction/orientation session for new employees, or via the factory’s internal loudspeaker system.
Solution: Diversify the form of employee rights and responsibilities awareness raising activities.
”Edutainment” is the project approach for information communication and dissemination. As such, it is employed in all activities, including law consultancy dialogue, communication events, training applied active teaching and learning methods, as well as in communication materials such as booklets, leaflets, posters, information boards. This is to ensure that employees have had direct conversation and interaction with experts and have learned about employees’ rights and responsibility and labor laws actively, cheerfully and effectively.
Employees who are dynamic, active, cheerful, and whom other employees view as credible volunteer as the project peer educators/collaborators. They play a key role in advertising the project activities and in linking and involving employees in project activity implementation.
Result: Optimal effects
– Increase employees’ knowledge and sound understanding and awareness of their rights and responsibilities.
“Everyone knows more about their rights when working in the factory. When employees complete their tasks and fulfill their responsibilities, they will receive higher pay and be rewarded with bonuses. During a working month, if they don’t break the rules nor make any mistakes, they would get extra bonuses. If they go to work on time and without absence, they will earn additional bonuses as well.” _ Viet Thinh Co. employee.
“For example, I know that if I have a child less than 36 months of age, I will get 3 extra days added to my annual leave. Now everyone knows their annual is more than 10 days, they know how to calculate their salary and bonuses, and they know that their responsibility is to follow the factory labor codes.” _ Viet Hung Co. employee.
– Increase and strengthen employees’ trust in the factory messages regarding labor laws and the rights and responsibilities of the employee. Employees understand, follow, and act upon messages and activities set up by the factory employee.
“If the factory alone says something about the labor law or the rights and responsibilities of employees, employees believe around 90 per cent.
However, when lawyers come and say the same things as the factory does, the employees’ trust in the factory increases.” Viet Hung Co. management.
“Now we pay more attention to the right to make a complaint or to have a grievance heard. However, I have never written a complaint letter since the factory has treated us well since we started working here.”_ Viet Hung Co. employee.
– Increase mutual care and understanding between employees and factory management.
· Employees realize the factory’s care of employees’ material and mental conditions.
“The factory has changed so much. For instance, overtime is reduced, the salary has been increased annually. The factory also has promotion policy for those who work effectively and productively.” _ Viet Hung Co. employee
“The factory now cares more about employees’ working conditions. They have repaired factory restrooms, and have provided better lighting.” _ Viet Thinh Co. employee.
· Employees become more open and confident, and now have the courage to speak up try and solver their problem/issue/complaint/grievance.
“I did not dare to propose any work-related things before; I just did what my superiors assigned me to do. Now, I take initiative in proposing which tasks suit me better.” _ Viet Hung Co. employee.
“Employees now know to write their request to departments or person in charge and ask for social and health insurance after their contracts of employment are signed.” _ Viet Thinh Co. employee.
“After the employees received training on the labor law and employees’ rights and responsibilitiesemployee, the human resource department is busier as many employees knew about their rights and benefit so they come there to make sure they receive it.” _ Viet Thinh Co. employee.
· Employees and the factory management have become closer.
“There is no longer distance or apprehension between employees and the factory management. If employees want something or have any questions, they speak out loud.” _ Viet Thinh Co. management.
“Employees’ voices reach the factory management more easily. Employees in the past avoided the factory management. Now they have become closer, and are able to talk directly and straight forwardly to the factory management. They even come to the deputy general director to raise their grievances.” _ Viet Hung Co. management.
– Work related challenges such as complaints/grievance/conflicts and turn- over were reported in decrease.
“Turnover of employees dropped from 8-10% to 4-5%. We have the lowest turnover of staff here, compared with other garment factories.” _ Viet Hung Co. management.
Key factors to success:
- High consensus and collaboration between the partner factory and Life Centre: both have discussed, planned, and implemented project activities Life staff gained the trust of the factory meant that the implementation of project activities in collaboration with the factory went smoothly and did not interrupt the factory production.
- Good guidance/direction and strong support from the factory management throughout the project implementation: the factory management has good understanding of the production situation and chose appropriate times to organize the project activities so that the employees could participate in these The factory management is proactive and decisive: able to analyze situations and needs, decide which activities need to be implemented, and direct all levels of the factory during the activity implementation.
– Acceptance, support, and participation of employees in the project: the employees took an active role when participating in the activities organized by the factory and the project.
- Diverse, lively, and entertaining form and content of the activities to raise employees’ awareness of their rights and responsibilities, g. games, music performances, and group contests, with prizes for winners.
- Communicated messages are appropriate to employees: easy to understand, realistic, practical, and applicable. The messages are repeated in different forms, including training, experts’ consultancy, communication.