SHAH ALAM, Malaysia—Malaysian rubber gloves manufacturer Top Glove Corp. B.h.d. has refuted allegations of forced labor, saying it recently achieved an A rating in a social audit.
In a July 21 statement, the Shah Alam-based company said it was accorded the rating in an audit conducted on May 23-26 by Amfori, a business association for open and sustainable trade.
Top Glove received 12 "very good" scores and one "good" score for a total of 13 performance areas assessed during the audit, it added.
The results, Top Glove said, showed its commitment to ethical labor practices and "dispel" allegations of forced labor taking place in its manufacturing facilities.
"The recent Amfori audit and earlier third-party audits, which garnered good ratings, provide independent verification that there is no element of forced labor in our manufacturing facilities," said William Yap, general manager of human resources at Top Glove.
On July 15, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency placed a detention order on disposable gloves manufactured by two Top Glove subsidiaries for the suspected mishandling of a migrant work force.
According to Top Glove, the issue specifically involved recruitment fees paid by foreign workers to employment agents.
In response to the move, the Malaysian gloves maker said it had been bearing all recruitment fees since the adoption of a "zero-cost recruitment" policy in January 2019.
The policy, Top Glove said, stipulates the company will conduct pre-departure orientations and interviews at the source country, post-arrival orientations in Malaysia, as well as monthly interviews with workers to ensure they have not paid any hidden fees to recruitment agents.
Workers who have paid recruitment fees to agents in their source country will be reimbursed, it added.
Top Glove said it is working on one outstanding issue with regard to retrospective payment of recruitment fees paid by its workers to agents prior to January 2019.
Company shares prices on the KLSE, which took a 10 percent dip to $4.61 by the morning of July 17, have now rebounded 25 percent to $5.87 by the end of business on July 21.
Driven by high demand in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, company shares have posted a staggering 437 percent increase in value over the past year.