Kula clears Top Glove of worker mistreatment claims

Christopher Rabin

Human Resources Minister M. Kula Segaran speaking to workers at the Top Glove factory in Klang today. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Afif Abd Halim, December 10, 2018.

RUBBER glove manufacturer Top Glove has been cleared by Human Resources Minister M. Kula Segaran, who said allegations of worker mistreatment at the company are mostly false.

He said only one claim in The Guardian’s exclusive report on the matter has basis, and it is being investigated by the Labour Department.

He warned that Top Glove, one of the two companies named in the UK daily’s report, will be punished if it is found to have forced employees to work more than the legally permitted 104 hours of overtime a month.

Kula Segaran said the Employment (Limitation of Overtime Work) Regulations 1980 clearly states the permissible number of overtime hours employees can be asked to work each month.

“I will not dispute the fact that in the past, it (excessive overtime hours) has happened. I have told them (Top Glove) that they must strictly adhere to the 104 hours.

“I have informed them that we will prevent them from having foreign workers if they breach this regulation (again),” he said after visiting the Top Glove factory in Klang.

The Guardian yesterday reported that workers at the world’s largest glove manufacturer are allegedly subjected to forced labour and overtime, debt bondage, withheld wages and passport confiscations.

Kula Segaran denied the other claims made against Top Glove.

“The rest of the allegations are false, and we will contact The Guardian. We will give them our official statement saying I, as a minister, have gone down to see the employers and employees.”

The Guardian has reported that workers at Top Glove, the world's largest glove manufacturer, are allegedly subjected to forced labour and overtime, debt bondage, withheld wages and passport confiscations. Human Resources Minister M. Kula Segaran has dismissed all the claims except one. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Afif Abd Halim, December 10, 2018.

On the overtime issue, he said action can be taken against the company under Section 99 of the Employment Act 1955 if it is proven that it had done wrong.

“The Labour Department has visited 22 of the 35 factories owned by Top Glove, and is conducting an investigation. The department has also visited other companies.

“We are investigating, and if the claims are found to be true, we will submit papers to the Attorney-General’s Chambers, which will decide whether to prosecute.”

Ruling out claims of “slavery” at Top Glove, he said debt bondage is an ongoing issue involving the agents of foreign workers who expect to be paid back for travel and hiring costs.

On the claims regarding passports and wages, he said: “Our investigations found that there are no restrictions. They (workers) are given the keys to the lockers where their passports are kept.

“Also, when I spoke to them about wage deductions, they admitted to a RM50 cut for hostel accommodation, which is permitted under the law.”

The Guardian report accused Top Glove and WRP of subjecting thousands of migrant workers to exploitative working conditions.

Top Glove has denied violating workers’ rights, but conceded that excessive daily overtime is a problem.

It said solutions are being explored, and that it is currently addressing the issue by increasing manpower and changing shift patterns. – December 10, 2018.

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  • Someone has been telling lies. Were the facts about Top Glove obtained independently by the ministry? Were there serious complaints not dealt with? I am not convinced that a newspaper as reputable and reliable as the Guardian would publish facts that they had not cross checked first. The newspaper has too much to lose if it doesnt stick to the facts.

    Posted 5 years ago by Malaysia New hope · Reply