Thursday, March 21, 2019 | ePaper

Malaysia vows action against world's top glove cos over migrants' illegal overtime

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Reuters :
Malaysia said on Monday it would take action against Top Glove Corp Bhd, the world's top medical glovemaker, which admitted breaching labour laws after a Thomson Reuters Foundation expose found some migrants working illegal overtime.
The Thomson Reuters Foundation revealed that migrant workers at the Malaysian company often worked long hours to help clear debts to recruitment agents back home who found them jobs - and in some cases exceed the legal overtime limit.
The expose has prompted investigations by the British government, after finding some Top Glove supplies were used in UK hospitals, and by Australian rubber giant Ansell. It was also raised as a concern by a European parliamentarian.
Top Glove's share price fell about 5.9 percent on Monday to 5.55 Malaysian ringgit ($1.33).
Speaking at a press conference in Malaysia, Top Glove's Executive Chairman and Founder Lim Wee Chai said "a small number" of workers had done excessive overtime and the company would "continue to improve" its labour standards.
"We do our part, we do it correctly, we have no pressure, we still can sleep very well tonight," he told reporters at a Top Glove factory in Klang, an industrial area outside Kuala Lumpur.
"We will continue to do good, if there is any feedback, anything no good, we will continue to improve."
Lim denied workers were forced to do overtime.
Top Glove earlier said it introduced changes this year to ensure adequate rest for workers, with about 11,000 coming from Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar and India to work for Top Glove in Malaysia, the world's glove manufacturing capital.
"They got options, you cannot force them. Some workers said they don't want to do overtime, that's ok. But most of them come here to make a living, so they want overtime," said Lim.
Workers at Top Glove factories often work a 12-hour shift and clock 90 to 120 hours of overtime a month, according to documents    
seen by the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Under Malaysian laws, workers should be given one rest day each week and work no more than 104 hours of overtime a month.
Top Glove, which produces one in every four pairs of rubber gloves used globally, said last week it would cut ties with unethical recruitment agents, and that action had been taken over the issue of excessive overtime.
Malaysia's Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran said action will be taken against Top Glove for breaching labour laws on overtime hours.
"(The company) themselves admitted (to this) so we will take the necessary action," Kulasegaran told reporters, after visiting one of Top Glove's 35 Malaysian factories on Monday.
"We will strictly enforce (the labour law) and we will prevent them in bringing in foreign workers if they breach this regulation," he said, adding that an investigation was ongoing.
Malaysia's labour ministry said Top Glove could face a fine of up to 10,000 Malaysian ringgit ($2,400) if found guilty of breaching labour laws on excessive overtime.
The matter was raised by one European parliamentarian as an example of a human rights violation on a day marking the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
"We urgently need corporate responsibility and public procurement free of human rights violations; allegations against Top Glove one more alarming example," tweeted Finnish politician and Vice-President of the European Parliament Heidi Hautala.

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