Malaysian company claims improved work conditions after abuse allegations

Bangkok, Jan 3 (EFE).- Supermax, one of the largest producers of medical gloves in Malaysia, said on Monday that it had created better work conditions for its immigrant workers after facing allegations of abuse which led to its products being banned in the United States.

In a statement, the company said that its new policy, which it began to implement in November, complies with International Labor Organization’s standards and will be examined by external auditors to ensure compliance.

Among other measures, the new guidelines ban abuse such as restricting the workers’ movement, confiscating passports, withholding salaries, excessive work or unfit living conditions.

“Several measures to improve working and living conditions are currently in progress, which includes major refurbishment to its hostel facilities that willprovide workers with adequate privacy. New facilities to improve leisure and lifestyle elements of workers have also been added to the Company’s existing modern dormitory,” said the company, adding that the work will be completed by February 2022.

Supermax added that it would now offer salaries and benefits equal to local workers for the immigrant employees, to “eliminate discriminatory practices.”

The step comes after the US Customs and Border Protection on Oct. 20 banned the products of Supermax and its subsidiaries citing the bad working and living conditions of their immigrant workers.

The ban came after a complaint by British activist, a specialist whistleblower in the area of the working conditions of migrant workers in Southeast Asia.

“Debt bondage from recruitment fees, an inability to leave their factory compounds since March 2020, unlawful deductions from their meager salaries, cramped living conditions, physical and mental abuse, and much more,” were some of the allegations Hall had made against Supermax.

He had said that immigrant workers were being submitted to “systematic forced labor” by the manufacturer.

Health sector companies in Malaysia, including Top Glove, Brightway and Riverstone have, seen a sharp jump in profits due to demand of sanitary gloves shooting up during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some other companies of this sector, which often employ immigrant workers from Myanmar, Cambodia or Bangladesh, have also faced bans by the US over workers’ abuse. EFE


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