Friday, October 29, 2021

Top Glove extends hand to its critics to improve workers’ welfare

It says it is committed to the welfare, health and safety of its workforce.

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Rubber glove maker Top Glove says it will work with its critics including the US authorities on the back of allegations that the company mistreated its foreign workers leading to export curbs on its products.

The company said it would also continue to engage with the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) which recently called for rectification measures in addressing forced labour issues.

Top Glove chairman Lim Wee Chai also announced a collaboration with one of its fiercest critics, migrant worker rights activist Andy Hall, saying it wanted to to become “a leading manufacturer with the best possible environmental social and governance (ESG) practices across our industry”.

“Top Glove also restated its strong commitment during the briefing to the welfare, health, and safety of its workforce, as it aims to be a leading responsible company in this regard, in Malaysia and worldwide,” the company said in a statement.

Hall meanwhile welcomed Top Glove’s “increasingly positive momentum” to address forced labour indicators across the company’s network.

He said US authorities’ reluctance to withdraw its forced labour trade-related findings against Top Glove would come into question as there were companies in Malaysia which were “doing far less than Top Glove” on workers welfare but were not subjected to trade enforcement action.

“I look forward to working together with them to ensure migrant workers’ rights and worker welfare generally are continually prioritised within the company’s direct operations and its vast supply chain,” Hall said.

Top Glove, which saw its profits skyrocketing amid a global demand for hand gloves and other protective gear during the Covid-19 pandemic, has been rocked by allegations of forced labour.

Last month, the CBP said it would seize any product from Top Glove at US entry points, on top of a ban on gloves made by two of the company’s subsidiaries last year.

The company’s after-tax profit came to RM2.9 billion, 24 times higher than the corresponding period last year.

Its net profit in 2QFY21 also rose 20.76% quarter-on-quarter, from RM2.38 billion to RM2.87 billion.

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