Bangkok, Oct 6 (efe-epa).- Malaysian rubber glove manufacturer Top Glove, the world’s largest manufacturer of gloves, will pay compensation to about 12,000 migrant workers following allegations of abusive labor practices against it and after the United States banned the imports of its products.
According to the allegations, many workers had to pay hefty fees to employment agents to secure a job at the Malaysian multinational, which initially denied the allegations.
The company has agreed to make remediation payments ranging from RM 1,000 ($240) to RM 20,000 ($4,800) to migrant workers, according to documents published by labor rights activist Andy Hall.
While most of the workers are from Bangladesh and Nepal, there are also workers from other countries including Myanmar, Indonesia and Vietnam.
On Jan. 1, 2019, Top Glove adopted a ” Zero Cost Recruitment Policy,” which, in theory, eliminated the recruitment fees and costs paid by foreign workers to intermediaries to secure a job abroad.
In mid-July, the US Customs and Border Protection placed a ban on the imports of products manufactured by Top Glove, an action taken against companies suspected of using forced labor.
In August, the Malaysian multinational began making remediation payments to migrant workers who had joined the company before the implementation of the “Zero Cost Recruitment Policy.”
The company will reimburse “around $40,000,000 in recruitment fees and related costs over 12 months, between August 2020 and July 2021,” according to Hall, who said that the payments should be made sooner.
“Top Glove’s foreign workers often paid their recruitment related fees and costs in one go prior to migrating to Malaysia by selling their possessions or property or through taking out high interest loans. It is only right and fair therefore that a repayment process for these costs expended should likewise be one off or short,” the activist explained.
With 40 factories in Malaysia, four in Thailand and one in China, the multinational is the largest producer of medical gloves – it manufactures more than 80 billion pieces per year – and employs a total of 20,000 people.
In the third quarter that ended on May 31, the company recorded its highest increase in year-on-year after-tax profit with a 365 percent jump over the same period last year to RM 350 million. EFE-EPA