Report: ‘Entire Labour Dept’ will investigate conditions at Top Glove factories, says HR minister

A health worker in protective suit is pictured outside Top Glove’s female staff dormitory in Klang November 18, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
A health worker in protective suit is pictured outside Top Glove’s female staff dormitory in Klang November 18, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 25 — Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan reportedly told The Star yesterday that the whole Labour Department will be put to work investigating the conditions at Top Glove factories.

The English-language daily also reported the minister as saying that checks so far at the factories in Klang — which are responsible for over 4,000 Covid-19 cases — revealed “deplorable” conditions at the workers’ housing.

“We are not merely sending a team to check on the conditions at Top Glove. It will be the entire Labour Department,” he reportedly said.

Saravanan also said that the investigation into the factories will be wrapped within a week, and a written report will be issued.

He added that immediate action must be taken as the issue “is a matter of life and death of vulnerable workers”.

The Star also reported that photos and video clips provided by the minister seemingly showed that the workers’ hostels were crowded and unsanitary.

“Top Glove must adhere to the National Security Council’s (NSC) instructions and close down its factories in stages.

“We have started investigations and will spare no one if they are found to have flouted labour laws.

“I have visited the hostels and the conditions are terrible. My officers were ordered to go in full force as this is a big, vulnerable migrant worker colony. If we don’t act, this cluster might get out of control.

“The Labour Department will ensure the employers are held responsible for workers’ conditions and dire action will be taken according to the law,” said Saravanan.

Top Glove, the world’s largest manufacturer of rubber gloves, currently employs over 21,000 workers nationwide.

In Klang alone, it has 28 factories, which have become the epicentre of the Teratai cluster with a reported 4,036 Covid-19 cases from November 7. Over 80 per cent of the infected are foreign workers.

On Monday, the NSC ruled that Top Glove must close its factories in stages after the highly infectious virus was found to have breached the workers’ lodgings and entered the community at large.

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