Top Glove denies forced labour allegations

Top Glove denies forced labour allegations
-A +A

KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 14): Top Glove Corp Bhd (Top Glove) has denied the allegations made by UK newspaper The Guardian regarding forced labour, excessive overtime, debt bondage and passport confiscation.  

“There is absolutely no forced labour at Top Glove. As regards to keeping strictly to the Labour Law of Malaysia, we have now implemented strict measures to ensure that the overtime undertaken by our workers does not exceed the maximum limit permitted under the law,” the group said in a statement today.

“The Minister of Human Resources directed his officials to conduct random checks at our factory premises in a few locations last week and paid an impromptu visit to Top Glove’s factories on Dec 10.

“He has also clarified that there is no element of forced labour, forced overtime and debt bondage at Top Glove. The minister has reminded all employers in Malaysia to adhere strictly to the maximum overtime limit of 104 hours per month as permitted by Labour Law, going forward,” the group added.

On Dec 9, The Guardian reported that Top Glove had declined to respond directly when asked to comment on the allegations the newspaper gathered from 16 workers from the factories.

In response, the group clarified: “Top Glove was not contacted by the Guardian and given the opportunity to comment on the allegations in the article. We would also appreciate if you could clarify when and how the interview of the 16 workers took place.”

The Guardian also mentioned that all Bangladeshi and Nepalese migrants are in high levels of debt bondage after paying RM18,000-20,000 and RM7,000 in recruitment fees respectively to work at the factory.

Top Glove said the recruitment cost is determined after the memorandum of understanding is signed between the Malaysian government and the labour source country.

“Typically, the processing cost incurred at the source country will be paid by workers while the employer pays for the processing cost in Malaysia.

“The processing cost comprises a fixed amount (for levy, visa stamping, insurance, medical examination etc.) and is borne by Top Glove, who pays strictly according to regulations, and does not divert any of the cost to workers. Hence, workers are not in debt bondage to Top Glove at all,” it stressed.

The news also quoted one worker as saying that his daily target had increased by 400% over the past years and money was deducted from the pay when the targets were not fulfilled.

To this, Top Glove said that for many factories, the packing process has been automated, hence workers are no longer involved in the manual packing of gloves, except for glove repacking purposes or special glove product types that require different handling.

“For the other factories, manual packing targets set by the company are certainly within reasonable limits. Hence, we would appreciate if you could provide us the basis of the alleged 400% increase over a year in order for us to investigate further,” it questioned.

The group also denied the report’s allegation where 16 workers had their passports involuntarily held by the company and were unable to get them back on request.

“Top Glove has never confiscated our migrant workers’ passports. In the interest of safeguarding these important documents, their passports are kept in a Passport Safekeeping Room with individual lockers, to which workers have free access anytime.

“Continuous education on the importance of passport handling and safekeeping is conducted prior to starting their job in Top Glove as well as regularly during refresher briefings,” it said.

At 11.08am, Top Glove rose 0.70% or 4 sen to RM5.74 with 611,200 shares.