Shocking video footage has shown overworked staff in Malaysia collapse and have seizures as they make protective equipment for NHS hospitals.
Footage recorded by the workers, who are mainly Nepalese and Bangladeshi migrants, also revealed the squalid conditions of the company-run hostels they are forced to stay in.
Top Glove, the company employing the workers, has been repeatedly accused of forcing their staff to endure ‘slave-like conditions’ – but the UK continues to source the NHS’ medical gloves from the firm.
This week, Malaysian authorities imposed a two-week lockdown on thousands of workers living in the west Kuala Lumpur after 215 coronavirus cases were reported in the area.
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As a result of the restrictions, up to 30 migrant workers at Top Glove factories in the region have been confined to filthy, cramped rooms provided by the company.
One worker said: ‘The workers at Top Glove are very scared about the situation. Workers are suffering from flus and fevers and there has been an increase in epileptic fits and fainting.
‘I feel like the company has no concern for us, even if it’s not suitable for us to continue work.’
Human rights advocates have repeatedly warned of the conditions endured by migrant workers in some of Top Glove’s Malaysian factories, alleging long working hours, very low wages, debt bondage, unacceptable living conditions, and the withholding of passports.
The US Customs and Border Protection this year banned imports from Top Glove following reports of forced labour at the company.
Migrant workers’ rights campaigner Andy Hall said: ‘Top Glove workers complain daily about the lack of social distancing at their factories and worker accommodation.
‘I have relayed these concerns continually to Top Glove management but there has not been any response.’
Top Glove said in a statement: ‘Our factories in Meru, Klang continue to operate with reduced capacity and workers not under ECMO [Enforced Control Movement Order] are working under strict standard operating procedures in alignment with guidelines from the Department of Health’, the Mirror reported.
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