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Malaysia: Hidden cameras reveal poor working & living conditions at Top Glove factory, fuelling forced labour concerns in glove industry; incl. company comments

"Hidden camera reveals 'appalling' conditions in overseas PPE factory supplying Canadian hospitals, expert says", 15 January 2021

...[CBC's] Marketplace interviewed 23 current and former migrant workers from across the disposable glove industry in Malaysia who detailed various stories of alleged exploitation: situations of debt bondage, deceptive recruiting practices, passport retention, excessive overtime, abusive workplaces and deplorable living conditions...

...Marketplace wanted to see the conditions some workers in Malaysia were subjected to, so with the help of a Top Glove employee, got a camera into a factory...

...The hidden camera videos backed up the Top Glove employee's claims of unsafe working conditions and hot, cramped living conditions. Employees slept in hostels where up to 25 people crowded together to sleep, often on floors. They shared a bathroom used for everything from bathing to cleaning vegetables...

The employee said there was little enforcement or adherence to the company's own COVID-19 protocols. Videos showed workers sometimes without masks and little physical distancing...

...In a statement, Top Glove said it recognizes "that there is a room for improvement" on COVID-19 prevention and that the company has since reopened with "reinforced health and safety measures."...

...[following employees' statements about abusive workplaces] Top Glove said that it "does not tolerate any form of violence, harassment or abuse, and views such allegations seriously." The company said it is "seriously embarking on corrective measures to improve" worker accommodations...

...Marketplace spoke to several workers from four other Malaysian glove makers who complained about stress they endured having taken on debt to pay their recruiting fees. Many felt they had no choice but to work long hours to pay off those debts — putting them in a situation of debt bondage, which experts say is a main indicator of forced labour...

..."Modern slavery, today's slavery, is more subtle than that but still quite insidious," said James Yap, president of the Canadian Lawyers for International Human Rights based in Toronto. "Modern slavery is carried out through other means of coercion."

Yap said there are strong indicators of forced labour conditions in what Marketplace found...

Part of the following stories

Malaysia: Medical glove manufacturers see surge in orders due to COVID-19, amid forced labour concerns

Malaysia: Medical glove manufacturers see surge in orders due to COVID-19, amid forced labour concerns