Two thousand migrant workers from Bangladesh and Nepal went on strike earlier this week in Malaysia in protest of their employer withholding their salaries. WRP Asia Pacific Sdn Bhd, a Malaysian rubber glove manufacturing company, faces legal action from the Malaysian government as it was discovered that the company had not paid its migrant employees since November last year.
WRP Asia Pacific will still be taken to court despite agreeing to pay the workers three months’ worth of wages owed to them. According to the Ministry of Human Resources “this is to ensure the incident does not repeat itself and to serve as a reminder to other employers as well”.
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Malay Mail reports:
After investigation, the company was found to have committed labour offences including not paying workers’ wages for three months, not paying overtime, unfair pay cuts and wrongful working hours during break and public holidays.
The three-day strike ended on the same day after the company agreed to pay the outstanding wages.
The Ministry of Human Resources said that it had meetings with WRP Asia Pacific and the Bangladesh and Nepal embassies in which a payment plan was agreed on. This plan stated that “payment for wages for November 2018 started on January 28 while overtime was paid on January 29. December’s wages would be paid latest by February 1 while overtime would be paid by February 15 and January’s pay and overtime would be paid on February 28”.
Terrible working conditions at two major rubber glove manufacturing companies in Malaysia, including WRP Asia Pacific, came to light following reports in December last year. Nepali and Bangladeshi migrants working in factories responsible for supplying the UK’s National Health Service, alleged withheld wages, forced overtime and passport confiscation amongst other exploitative conditions.
WRP Asia Pacific’s Chief Executive responded to these allegations at the time dismissing them as “baseless” and insisted that employees were paid on time and in line with the Malaysian Employment Act.