Top Glove Accused Of Locking Up Its Employees Against Their Free Will

Malaysia rubber glove manufacturer Top Glove faces labour abuse charges after an employee claims that he and others were forcibly detained in the manufacturing plant by Top Glove's auxiliary police.

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Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturer Top Glove Has Been Accused Of Unlawfully Detaining Its Employees As A Form Of Disciplinary Action

Top Glove office

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Malaysian rubber glove manufacturer Top Glove Corporation Bhd is a leading international brand, but a recent labour complaint indicates that conditions at its Meru plant may paint a different picture.

According to a complaint that has led to a Labour Department case, set for later this month, the company locks up its workers when disciplinary complaints are made, in conditions reminiscent of sweatshops and labour camps.

A Top Glove Employee, Dhanusuvel Nadesan, Was Allegedly Locked Up Against His Free Will By Top Glove’s Auxiliary Police For Five Days

A police report by a worker’s relative on the matter led police to raid a so-called ‘lock-up’, where ‘problematic workers’ were held, on Feb 11 to free an Indian national detained against his will there for five days.

His relative, Robert Chelliah, who is an Australian citizen, said the area where Dhanusuvel Nadesan (Dhanush) was held was akin to a prison and that he was initially stopped from entering by “Top Glove’s auxiliary police”.

Police Raided The Top Glove Manufacturing Plant After The Employee's Relative, Robert Chelliah, Lodged A Police Report On 11 February 2014

Chelliah, who has business dealings in Malaysia, lodged a police report and returned with to the detention centre police, who have opened an investigation paper on the matter.

Chelliah’s parents hail from the same village in India, and their relatives contacted him after hearing of Dhanush’s detention from his colleagues.

Top Glove manufacturing plant

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Dhanusuvel, A Top Glove Employee Of Nine Years, Said He Was Detained After He Had An Argument With Another Employee

Dhanush, who works in the safety and quality control section and has been an employee of Top Glove for nine years, was said to be detained after a run-in with another worker who did not wear a safety helmet.

When contacted, Dhanush said the female worker purportedly pushed a camera he was using to take a picture of her without a helmet, and his hand knocked her face.

According To Dhanusuvel, His ATM Card And Pin Number Was Also Forcibly Taken From Him During The Duration Of His Detention In Order To Pay For His Food

Top Glove worker

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Police documents sighted by Malaysiakini also note that the authorities have retrieved Dhanush’s ATM card, which was forcibly taken from him by Top Glove staff. Dhanush claims that the card and PIN number were taken from him in order to pay for his food while being locked up.

He claimed that Top Glove management told him that would be beaten if he did not surrender his ATM card and PIN code.

Another Nepali Worker Was Reportedly Locked Up For 15 Days While Other Workers Were Allegedly "Hit With Batons"

According to Dhanush, there was also a Nepali worker held at the same time but the Nepali had been there for 15 days.

While he was not assaulted, he claimed that other workers who had been locked up have been “hit with batons”.

When Contacted, Top Glove Said Dhanusuvel Is A "Problematic Worker Who Was Involved In Repeatedly Assaulting A Co-Worker"

However, Top Glove, in a brief email to Malaysiakini said that Dhanush had “repeatedly assaulted” his co-worker. “Mr Dhanush is a problematic worker who was involved in repeatedly assaulting a co-worker in the presence of other witnesses. The assaulted worker has since lodged a police report,” the email says.

Top Glove employee

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They Declined To Comment On The Allegations Of Unlawful Detention

The public-listed company declined to comment on allegations of unlawful detention as the matter is under police investigation.

Top Glove Has Cancelled Dhanusuvel's Work Permit. The Indian National Will Remain In Malaysia On A Special Pass As He Awaits The Hearing At The Labour Department.

His case is up for hearing at the Labour Department on March 20, and he has obtained a special pass to remain in Malaysia until then. His work permit has been cancelled by Top Glove.

Aegile Fernandez Of The Migrant Workers’ Rights NGO Says This Is Wrongful Detention And Is Against Labour Rights

Migrant workers’ rights NGO Tenaganita’s Aegile Fernandez said the complaint was filed under Section 20 of the Labour Act for unlawful dismissal, as Dhanush was contracted to work for another year.

Aegile said while there have been complaints on the non-renewal of Top Glove workers’ permits, this is the first case handled by Tenaganita where a factory has “lock-ups cells” to detain workers.

“Can you imagine having their own police inside the factory to control the workers? It is against labour rights and is wrongful detention,” she said.

Founded In Malaysia In 1991, Top Glove Prides Itself As The World's Largest Rubber Glove Manufacturer

Top Glove Chariman Tan Sri Lim Wee Chai.

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Top Glove Corporation Berhad is a rubber glove manufacturer. The company owns and operates 25 manufacturing facilities in Malaysia, Thailand, China and marketing offices in Malaysia, United States and Germany.

Founded in 1991, Top Glove has come a long way from its humble beginnings. What started off as a modest business venture of 1 factory, 3 production lines and 100 staff, has now emerged as the world's largest rubber glove manufacturer, boasting 25 factories, 464 production lines and a capacity of 41.3 billion gloves per annum.

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