OECD complaint after forced settlement

In 2011, 22 workers at the Mölnlycke factory were dismissed after the management accused them of “striking illegally”. The Thai Industrial Relations Committee (IRC), which looks into labour conflicts in the country, investigated the incident and concluded that the workers had to be reemployed. The case went to court after the management refused to reinstate them. In 2013 the case was settled and an OECD complaint was filed to question the outcome once more.

The 18-month struggle by the Thai Mölnlycke employees for their reinstatement left all 22 of them with no income and in a desperate economic situation. These circumstances forced them into eventually accepting the financial settlement offered by the factory. According to the partners of the Clean Clothes Campaign, the workers who wanted to keep fighting for reemployment were forced to settle due to pressures put on those desperate for the money, who would not get anything until everyone gave in.

One of the female workers said that she really wanted to be re-employed, but was forced to give up her fight due to pressure by the dismissed workers who needed the money.
As Mölnlycke is a Swedish company, a complaint was filed with the Swedish National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises by Swedwatch. The NCP was asked to look into the legality of the actions taken by the factory management.

In September 2013, after assessing all the facts of the case, the OECD decided not to formally handle the complaint but to monitor developments and request periodic updates from the company.

The Swedish NCP accepted Mölnlycke’s argument that social dialogue had been initiated with the trade union and that the conflict had ended after workers and union members accepted the settlements.


See also:

Large public procurer in Norway publicly supports dismissed Thai workers

Dismissed Mölnlycke workers continue their struggle

Swedwatch complaint about Mölnlycke at Swedish NCP [pdf]

What happened in the Yellow Zones (research report on the Molnlycke case, Clean Clothes Campaign contributed to) In Swedish