KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 6 — Top Glove Corporation Bhd is set to compensate some of its migrant workers up to nearly RM20,000 per person as part of its efforts to resolve a US Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) import ban.
According to a report by Malaysiakini, the compensation is for migrant workers who were forced to pay recruitment fees to agencies in order to gain employment with the company.
It is understood that the compensation will be paid to the workers over a 12-month period.
The report quoted labour activist Andy Hall as saying that workers were also informed that their reimbursement would depend on whether they were recruited under the company's Zero Cost Recruitment Policy which was implemented on January 1, 2019, or before this date.
"This U-turn in corporate decision making is finally a welcome admission by Top Glove that the company's so-called 'ethical or zero cost' recruitment processes implemented since January 1, 2019, remains unethical and extortionate such that recruited workers have continued to pay high costs for their jobs.
"Likewise, it seems Top Glove has accepted recruitment-related fees and costs expenses by its workers were much more than estimated initially or more of these costs should be paid back to the workers," he said.
Hall was also quoted as saying that while the reimbursement process was a long time coming, the 12-month repayment method was “inappropriate” for a highly profitable company like Top Glove.
“Migrant workers often paid their recruitment-related fees and costs in one go, so it only makes sense for the company to compensate them in a one-off or short payment as well,” he said.
The Malaysiakini report said Top Glove currently employs around 12,000 migrant workers who are expected to receive compensation that will vary according to their nationality and recruitment date.
On July 15, the US CBP placed a detention order on imported disposable gloves manufactured by two Top Glove subsidiaries — Top Glove Sdn Bhd and TG Medical Sdn Bhd — in relation to suspected forced labour practised at the group’s factories.
In response, the following month, Top Glove commenced reimbursing its migrant workers who joined the company prior to the implementation of its Zero Cost Recruitment Policy in January last year.
Last month, Top Glove executive chairman Tan Sri Lim Wee Chai told national news agency Bernama that the group was currently working to resolve the issue and that he expected it to be resolved by year-end.