Our position, valuing homeworking
We are proud of our long-standing relationships with skilled artisan craft communities and homeworkers. We value the specialist skills and traditional crafts, and depend upon them to help create our unique, high quality, handcrafted products. Homeworking allows us to utilise age old skills in small quantities of intricate, high quality items that do not require modern, often polluting and expensive machinery.
From our homeworkers’ perspective, the option to work from home offers a degree of flexibility not met by site-based work. Homeworkers frequently cite the advantages off-site working offers in enabling paid work to be balanced with domestic and family responsibilities. For our older more senior craftsmen within family production units, this is invaluable as they are sometimes not able to work outside the home for cultural or health reasons. Homeworking offers them a valuable opportunity to make a living from their craft skillset.
We recognise that the lack of visibility of homeworkers in supply chains, combined with a complex employment status in India makes them a vulnerable group of workers. This vulnerability means they can face conditions that fall below minimum standards laid down by international and national legislation. This can manifest in irregular work, low pay, and often unsafe working practices. We recognised from the onset that in order to reduce any vulnerability amongst our homeworkers we must foster a positive working environment where there is a proactive and open door policy to address any issue that could in turn impact on their significant role in our production.
We also recognise that negative connotations to instances evolving from self employment and home working in our manufacturing base could risk sending workers underground, or worse still, make them unemployable, triggering dire consequences by jeopardising their sole means of income. Commitment to improving homeworkers’ conditions
- We acknowledge that homeworkers’ labour conditions in India may not always meet those set out in the ETI Base Code. We and our partner have committed to encourage our team leaders to tell homeworkers about our policy and the working conditions they can expect, proactively helping to improve conditions where required.
For transparency we should first layout the definition of a homeworker;
Our definition of homework is based upon the ILO definition (1996, C177, Article 1) which states:
- The term homework means work carried out by a person, to be referred to as a homeworker, (1) in his or her home or in other premises of his or her choice, other than the workplace of the employer; (2) for remuneration; (3) which results in a product or service as specified by the employer, irrespective of who provides the equipment, materials or other inputs used, unless this person has the degree of autonomy and of economic independence necessary to be considered an independent worker under national laws, regulations or court decisions;
(b) Persons with employee status do not become homeworkers within the meaning of this Convention simply by occasionally performing their work as employees at home, rather than at their usual workplaces;
(c) The term employer means a person, natural or legal, who, either directly or through an intermediary, whether or not intermediaries are provided for in national legislation, gives out home work in pursuance of his or her business activity.
Our commitment under this policy
We acknowledge that improving labour conditions for homeworkers is a complex issue. Under this homeworker policy we commit:
- to communicate our policy on homeworking throughout our supply chain and clientele
- to inform on request that homeworkers are an integral part of our supply chain to avoid any relocation of work or cancellation of orders
- to work with our partners for the sustainable improvement of labour conditions of homeworkers within our supply chain as set out in the ETI Homeworker Guidelines.
These improvements are based on the working conditions laid out in the Responsible Sourcing Code adapted for Homeworking. Every effort will be made to provide a safe and hygienic working environment in the units and where necessary strive to assist homeworkers in achieving good sanitation. We commit to the following:
- Wages are governed by the market rates for skilled workers; however, we pay above the market rate to retain our team of skilled workers.
- Information relating to wages is available to workers in an understandable form. All records on these transactions are maintained by the master craftsman, who is responsible for collecting the finished product, updating records and remunerating accordingly.
- Record keeping is encouraged at the homeworkers’ level. The records relate to the number of pieces completed and payments made.
- Children under the age of 14 are not recruited or employed.
- Young Persons under the age of 18 are not recruited or employed.
- All homeworkers with children are encouraged to register and enrol them in full time education.
This document sets out the essential ethical standards of homeworking which Collectors Item trading under the company Tinker Tailor Ltd requires and expects its manufacturing partners to adhere to when producing merchandise to be sold or supplied under the Tinker Tailor Ltd brand.
These standards are to be applied by the supplier himself (whether he manufactures directly or sources product from others) and by any agents or sub-contractors engaged by him.
Our suppliers acknowledge they are aware of the legal, economical and practical importance of this declaration of principles and that this declaration corresponds to good will and intention.