PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association (Margma) are concerned about their workers’ welfare and have stepped up on their social compliance initiatives.
“The majority of Margma members had registered with the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (SEDEX) and participated in the SMETA Audit Programme,” said Margma president Denis Low Jau Foo.
All major multinational and big corporations that buy gloves from Malaysia carry out comprehensive social responsibility audits on all companies which they conduct business with on a periodical basis.
Since 2018, Low said rubber glove producers here have stepped up further to invest more time and money on Social Compliance initiatives to continuously improve on employees welfare.
"We urge more of our members to undergo the SMETA audit programme and eventually register with SEDEX, within 12 months," he told reporters in a briefing here today.
Also present were Margma chief executive officer Chan Wone Fu, Margma vice-president Dr S Supramaniam, Top Glove Corp Bhd managing director Datuk Lee Kim Meow and Hartalega Holdings Bhd executive director Kuan Mun Keng.
Established in 1989, Margma represents 90 per cent of local glove manufacturers. Malaysia is the world’s top supplier of rubber gloves.
All over the world, rubber gloves are mainly used in medical, food-handling and health wellness industries.
Among glove-making giants listed on Bursa Malaysia are Top Glove, Hartalega, Supermax Corp Bhd and Kossan Rubber Industries Bhd. They are exporting medical gloves, a healthcare necessity, to over 190 countries.
SMETA is an ethical audit format which reports on Sedex's four pillars of labour, health, safety and environment in reflecting good business ethics.
Margma members have also pledged to adopt Zero Cost Policy for the recruitment of foreign workers with immediate effect.
Low said Margma members will ensure newly-recruited foreign workers are free of debt when coming to work in Malaysia.
"Our members will ensure that the migrant worker will not be indebted by way of agency fees, passport and visa abdications, travelling expenses and any medical examination fees.
"All these costs will be paid for by the employers. All these fees ought to be reasonable and in full agreement between employers, employees and the agents," he added.
Margma members have now formalised arrangements where foreign workers hold their own passports. Employers shall no longer keep their foreign workers’ passports.
Low said glovemakers have provided foreign workers with lockers with keys to safely keep their passports and other personal documentation.
He also said overtime work at factories is capped at 72 hours as per International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards. Margma members practice one day of rest per working week.
"Termination of employee is on a mutual consent basis and the migrant worker will have the right to terminate his employment at any point of time.
"Margma members are not deducting migrant worker’s wages on any item pertaining to the employment and accommodation," Low said.