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17 Jun 2020

Channel 4 News Investigation Team

Malaysia: Investigation reveals migrant workers producing PPE for NHS hospitals exposed to abusive labour practices & Covid-19 risk as employer Top Glove triples profits

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“Revealed: Shocking conditions in PPE factories supplying UK”, 16 June 2020

Staff at Top Glove factories in Malaysia … have provided disturbing evidence about working conditions…

  • Migrant workers paid £1.08 an hour for gruelling 12-hour shifts, 6 days a week
  • … [W]orkers clocking up 111 hours in overtime, in breach of Malaysian law…
  • [I]llegal deductions from workers’ salaries
  • Appalling conditions in hostels with up to 24 workers per room
  • ... [P]oor social distancing arrangements
  • Top Glove reported a 366% increase in quarterly profits…

The manufacturing giant has been a supplier of gloves to Polyco Healthline, a major contractor to the NHS Supply Chain, which provides PPE to our hospitals.

… [T]he UK government put pressure on the Malaysian Government to increase production of gloves amid chronic shortages in … NHS hospitals and care homes.

Migrant workers from Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal are housed in cramped and squalid company-run hostels … [that were] potential breeding ground for … Covid-19…

Many workers have paid extortionate recruitment fees of up to 5,000 US dollars … leaving them in effective debt bondage…

Top Glove declined to address any of the allegations specifically but said the report was inaccurate…

Polyco Healthline ... made clear this order was not for the NHS…

Part of the following timelines

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

Malaysia: Top Glove denies migrant workers producing PPE are exposed to abusive labour practices & COVID-19 risk; Incl. responses from auditing firms