Training in rights and responsibilities

Weak labor rights and poor working conditions at production plants in China and Bangladesh are well known problems. It manifests itself through illegal or unpaid overtime, no right to organize in trade unions, low wages, poor dialogue between workers and employers, lack of occupational health and safety, poor fire safety and sometimes discrimination. The disadvantage for the factory owner is high staff turnover, a non-stable workforce with conflicts and quality problems related to the production. For buyers, it’s a supply chain management problem and many companies seek to address the non-compliances through audits and monitored corrections.

But it’s not enough.

In some cases factory workers are not aware of their legal rights or lack the means to make demands. In other cases, the cultural, social or political context put up barriers for employees to exercise their rights. The suppliers in turn might have weak management systems or simply no motivation to ensure worker’s rights. Managers at various levels act differently, and do not have a coherent view on what is (a) right, legal, fair and pro-active.

QuizRR is an educational tool aimed on contributing to increased knowledge of worker’s rights and obligations. QuizRR stands for Quiz Rights & Responsibilities and is developed for workers and managers at all levels in a processing factories in China, Bangladesh and Mauritius. There are three QuizRR modules: the basic RR (Rights and Responsibilities), WE (Worker Engagement) which aims on developing well functioning social dialogue on the workfloor and Wage Management for sound wage systems.

Training is carried out on tablets in the factory and can be done individually on in a group session. The quiz questions are based on customized short films shot in factories, performed with local actors on local language. The training data (quantity of users and training result) is visualized in a data portal accessible for  supplier and buyer. Consequently, QuizRR allows buyers to monitor how suppliers are working to train their staff, what they learned and where additional efforts are needed.

The overall goal is to provide workers with knowledge that allow them to exercise their rights. This objective is consistent with Axfoundation’s efforts to drive transformative change on working conditions throughout the company’s value chains.

2015 började Axfoundation uppmuntra bolagen i Axel Johnson Gruppen att använda QuizRR på sina leverantörsfabriker genom att erbjuda startlicenser. Sedan dess har Åhléns, Kicks, Axfood, Filippa K och Martin & Servera infört QuizRR på sammanlagt 26 fabriker (per maj 2019). Totalt har drygt 9 000 användare i Axel Johnsonbolagens leverantörsfabriker tränats genom QuizRR.

In 2015-2016, Axfoundation  supported companies in the Axel Johnson Group to sign up for QuizRR through 25 pilot licences. Five companies are using QuizRR in their Chinese supplying factories: Axfood, Filippa K, Kicks, Åhléns and Martin & Servera. In total, more than 9,000 users on 26 Chinese supplying factories to Axel Johnson companies have been trained through QuizRR (May 2019).

Independent evaluation of the effects

In 2018, Axfoundation assigned to the Raoul Wallenberg Institute to assess the impact of QuizRR training. The assessment was published in November 2018 and is based on a large number of interviews with workers and other stakeholders. It shows that the knowledge has increased regarding maternity leave, employment contracts, social security and health and safety. The training method of QuizRR was very appreciated by the users. Below are examples of effects that was noted by the assessors:

1) Instances of smoking in a factory reduced sharply;
2) Workers in one factory became more cooperative in fire drills;
3) Some workers asked the factory to help them join the social insurance system;
4) Some workers dealing with chemicals and formerly resisting PPEs started to wear them voluntarily;
5) A manager managed to change factory rules with regard to fire safety (in line with QuizRR contents);
6) Some workers now understood that they’ve been doing overtime which they thought was part of
regular working hours, and now some of them said they told their managers directly that “we do not like to do OT often!”;
7) One worker said, “if I am pregnant, I will tell my manager and ask for paid leave”;
8) Some workers now keep well their labor contracts (which they formerly believed were “useless”);
9) Some workers proactively report safety risks and clear up passage ways;
10) Some managers stopped shouting at workers and became more patient and better listeners;
11) Some workers did not understand why they could not bring their relatives under the age of 16 to work at the factory and kept introducing them to managers, and after QuizRR training, they stopped asking to do it;
12) Whereas before, workers left the factory without noticing the management; after QuizRR training, they started to file resignation applications in advance and followed relevant procedures;
13) Some workers realised that the fire drill did not cover all the employees of the factory;
14) A worker realised that worker representatives should be selected by vote, not by appointment from the management;
15) Whereas before in one factory, managers only provided physical examination to workers at hazardous positions; after using QuizRR, they changed such practices and now provide physical
examination to all workers annually.

Read the whole report here.

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