TOP Glove Bhd now owes its investors – and probably its entire workforce – an explanation pertaining to the alleged mistreatment of its workers along with the cramped living conditions following a recent video exposed on YouTube video.
The video with a duration of seven minutes and 41 seconds by Vice Media interviewed several workers of the world’s largest glove maker who claimed that their employer has neglected their welfare and safety as the nation grappled with the raging COVID-19 pandemic.
To re-cap, the Government first imposed a two-week enhanced movement control order (EMCO) on Top Glove’s workers dormitory in Meru, Klang on Nov 16 following a detection of 215 COVID-19 cases which have been linked to the Teratai cluster.
The EMCO was further extended on Nov 30 (the day it should have been lifted) to Dec 14 for another fortnight due to the persistent high rate of positive COVID-19 cases among the workers there.
On Dec 1, the Human Resources Ministry revealed that it had initiated a crackdown on Top Glove’s operations in five states along with the Department of Labour of Peninsular Malaysia (JTKSM) in Johor, Perak, Kedah, Kelantan and Negri Sembilan.
The operations involved six factories with 19 investigation papers opened against the glove titan.
“Results from a thorough investigation into employee accommodation and hostels found that the employer did not comply with the Minimum Standards Act on Housing, Accommodation and Employee Facilities 1990 (Act 446),” read the ministry’s statement.
“The main violation is the failure of this company to apply for an Accommodation Certificate from the director-general of the Labour Department, as stipulated under Section 24D, Act 446.
“This failure in turn led to other offences including living conditions and hostels which are dense, uncomfortable and without proper air ventilation. Even buildings used as accommodations do not comply with local council (PBT) laws.”
Despite faring poorly on the social responsibility front, Top Glove nevertheless excelled superbly in the financial equation as the pandemic ‘miraculously’ works to its favour amid soaring demand/prices for its rubber and nitrile gloves.
On Wednesday, the company ushered in its new financial year with a 20-time jump in its 1Q 9/FY2021 net profit to RM2.4 bil from the same period a year ago and doubled that against the previous quarter of 4Q FY9/2020.
The feat was made sweeter by its induction into The Edge’s Billion Dollar Club – class of 2020 – as the company that offers the most returns to shareholders.
Presently, Top Glove prides itself for having penetrated 195 countries worldwide across in all continents except Antarctica.
We reckon Top Glove doesn’t need further introduction beyond what we have just laid out.
No matter how big or wealthy a company is, all its achievement comes to nought if it disregards the welfare of its most prized asset – its workforce.
Needless to say, it should be held accountable for the trauma it has inflicted upon its workforce, their families and the community. – Dec 11, 2020