FGV Holdings Berhad sanctioned by Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil over alleged forced labour in Malaysia
A palm oil giant has been sanctioned over forced labor and trafficking workers, 29 November, 2018
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) announced it would be sanctioning the company [FGV Holdings Berhad] formerly known as FELDA Global Ventures. The charges include forced labor, complicity in the trafficking of workers, terrible living conditions, widespread illegality and over 25 breaches of the organization’s sustainability certification criteria on FELDA plantations.
...In a letter to FGV Holdings’ vice president, RSPO complaints panel chair Henry Barlow laid out a list of infractions committed on company plantations. Some of the more minor examples involved locking workers’ passports away and requiring written permission to leave the plantation. More serious charges included housing workers in “dire” conditions, supplying them with contracts in languages they could not understand, forbidding them from terminating their contracts, and subtracting seemingly arbitrary sums from wages for food, water and electricity. FGV has a matter of months to address these issues.
...In a statement, FGV announced that, as a result of the sanctions, it had frozen all new recruitment of workers from external contractors across its operations, with immediate effect, and planned to revise workers’ benefits. It also intends to absorb the costs of “basic necessities,” including workers’ food, rather than deducting them from pay.