Shah Alam, Malaysia – Malaysian rubber gloves manufacturer Top Glove has refuted allegations of forced labour, saying it recently achieved an A rating in a social audit.
In a 21 July statement, the Shah Alam-based company said it was accorded the rating in an audit conducted on 23-26 May by Amfori, a business association for open and sustainable trade.
Top Glove received 12 “very good” scores and 1 “good” score for a total of 13 performance areas assessed during the audit, it added.
The results, Top Glove said, showed its commitment to ethical labour practices and ‘dispel’ allegations of forced labour taking place in its manufacturing facilities.
“The recent Amfori audit and earlier third-party audits which garnered good ratings, provide independent verification that there is no element of forced labour in our manufacturing facilities”, said William Yap, general manager of human resources at Top Glove.
On 15 July, the US Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) placed a detention order on disposable gloves manufactured by two Top Glove subsidiaries for the suspected mishandling of migrant workforce.
According to Top Glove, the issue specifically involved recruitment fees paid by foreign workers to employment agents.
In response to the move, the Malaysian gloves maker said it had been bearing all recruitment fees since the adoption of ‘zero-cost recruitment’ policy in January 2019.
The policy, Top Glove said, stipulates that the company will conduct pre-departure orientations and interviews at the source country, post-arrival orientations in Malaysia, as well as monthly interviews with workers to ensure they have not paid any hidden fees to recruitment agents.
Workers who have paid recruitment fees to agents in their source country will be reimbursed, it added.
Top Glove said it is currently working on one outstanding issue with regard to retrospective payment of recruitment fees paid by its workers to agents prior to January 2019.
Company shares prices on the KLSE, which took a 10% dip to MYR19.60 by the morning of 17 July, have now rebounded 25% to MYR24.94 by the end of business on 21 July.
Driven by high demand in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, company shares have posted a staggering 437% increase in value over the past year