Malaysia's Top Glove charged with providing uncertified worker accommodation - state news agency

KUALA LUMPUR, March 16 (Reuters) - Malaysian glove manufacturer Top Glove Corp Bhd has been charged with failing to provide worker accommodation meeting the minimum housing and amenities standards set out by the country’s Labour Department, state news agency Bernama reported.

Top Glove, the world’s largest medical glove maker, was charged by the Sessions Court in the city of Ipoh with 10 counts of having failed to meet those requirements, the news agency said. According to the charges, 10 of Top Glove’s foreign worker accommodations in the state of Perak did not receive certification from the Labour Department, it added.

The company pleaded not guilty to all charges and court proceedings will resume on April 28, Bernama reported.

Top Glove could be fined up to 50,000 ringgit per charge, a charge sheet showed.

Top Glove was not immediately available for a comment.

The Labour Department, part of the Ministry of Human Resources, launched investigations into worker accommodation and hostels at several Top Glove units in November last year after a COVID-19 outbreak at a Top Glove factory in an industrial area near the capital Kuala Lumpur.

The outbreak became the largest cluster in Malaysia, with more than 5,000 workers having tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Labour Deparment had recommended filing charges after opening 19 probes.

Independent consultant, Impactt, said last week it “no longer” found any indication of systemic forced labour at Top Glove, and that the manufacturer was making progress on some indicators including living conditions. (Reporting by Liz Lee; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)