FGV ‘disappointed’ over US restrictions after improving labour standards

FGV Holdings Bhd says it has taken measures to protect the rights and welfare of its workers.

PETALING JAYA: FGV Holdings Bhd (FGV) has reiterated its commitment to the rights and welfare of its workers after US authorities imposed restriction on its products following allegations of forced and child labour.

In a statement, FGV said all issues cited in the US Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) decision to detain their palm oil and palm products have been the subject of public discourse since 2015.

It said measures have been taken to correct the situation and that the company does not tolerate any form of human rights infringements or criminal offence in its operations.

“FGV’s efforts are well documented and available in the public domain,” it said, adding it was disappointed with the CBP’s decision despite the measures it has taken to improve labour standards.

Yesterday, CBP said the directive against FGV followed a year-long investigation that revealed forced labour indicators, including restriction of movement, physical and sexual violence, withholding of wages and excessive overtime.

FGV listed its various efforts to uphold labour standards and human rights, including sourcing migrant workers only through legal channels since 2020. It said the recruitment of migrants is also in accordance with international standards.

“FGV does not practice the retention of its workers’ passports and has installed a total of 32,250 safety boxes throughout all its 68 complexes, as an option for migrant workers to keep their passports safely.

“In fulfilling the rights of workers to adequate housing, FGV has, over the past three years, invested approximately RM350 million to upgrade housing facilities for its workers by constructing new residences in our plantations all over the country.”

It said workers are provided with medical coverage for outpatient care and an “unlimited allocation for inpatient treatment”.

FGV also said it acts on allegations of physical or sexual violence, intimidation or threats, and takes the necessary action, including reporting such instances to the authorities.

It also said it is taking part in the Fair Labour Association (FLA) and is implementing a long-term and comprehensive action plan under the FLA.

This, it said, comprises initiatives to further strengthen various aspects of labour practices such as recruitment, human rights training, working and living conditions.

“FGV’s action plan for 2020 was adopted on March 31, 2020 in consultation with the FLA and with various other stakeholders including civil society organisations.

“FGV’s affiliation to the FLA is subject to a rigorous validation exercise and public reporting. FLA’s report on FGV’s progress on the implementation of the action plan is published on FLA’s website.”