Under Covid spotlight, Top Glove sets Dec target to improve worker accommodations nationwide

Officers from the Labour Department conduct checks on a worker’s hostel in Tasek, Ipoh November 26, 2020. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Officers from the Labour Department conduct checks on a worker’s hostel in Tasek, Ipoh November 26, 2020. — Picture by Farhan Najib

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 27 ― The world’s largest producer of rubber gloves, Top Glove Corporation Berhad, gave its assurance that it will improve housing for its workers nationwide by next month.

The public-listed company with 41 factories nationwide and a workforce of 21,000 has been under intense global scrutiny over its employees’ living conditions that have also resulted in Malaysia’s largest Covid-19 cluster to date.

The latest spotlight fell on accommodation for its factory workers in Ipoh, Perak yesterday.

In a statement today, Top Glove said it has been working to meet the requirements under the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 (Act 446) since July “and is expected to be completed by next month, December 2020”.

It said part of its ongoing efforts was renting eight units of new shop lots in Ipoh that are to be converted into hostels for its workers.

It said six are now occupied and two more are in the process of being set up.

“Efforts to source for more accommodation and to improve existing worker accommodations are ongoing.

“We understand that our workforce is the company’s greatest asset and are committed to

continue working closely with the relevant authorities to make the necessary improvements

towards ensuring the safety and well-being of our workers,” it added.

Yesterday, the Department of Labour Peninsular Malaysia (JTKSM) said a glove maker in Ipoh had violated the law on the minimum standards of housing for foreign workers during a check in the Tasek area.

The company name was not disclosed in news reports.

Top Glove has been under the scope since its exports were banned by the US in July over allegations of forced labour and other abuses.

Malaysia’s Human Resources Ministry cleared the manufacturer of force labour during an unscheduled visit on one of its factories the same month.

However, the company is back in the public eye after 28 of its factories located in Klang, Selangor became the epicentre of what has been dubbed the Teratai cluster with 4,036 reported Covid-19 cases since November 7.

Over 80 per cent of the infections involve migrant workers.

Last Monday, the National Security Council ordered Top Glove to close 28 of its factories in stages due to the outbreak that is said to have now infected the community.

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