Labor groups have been calling for investigations into Malaysia's glove-making industry following revelations of unsafe and unhealthy living conditions for workers.
Crackdown On Workers' Living Quarters
Glove markets scrambled Monday after the Labor Department said it is working to file 30 charges against Brightway Holdings and two subsidiaries, La Glove and Biopro.
The announcement was made after a raid was conducted on a Brightway factory outside Kuala Lumpur. During the raid, workers were found living in dirty, cramped shipping containers.
The case of Brightway isn't the first time that the Malaysian government announced charges against a top glove-maker in the country.
Top Glove Invites Raid Ripple Effect
Last month, the Malaysian government said it will file charges against Top Glove Corp. for lapses related to worker accommodation.
Before a raid at a Top Glove factory near Kuala Lumpur, a coronavirus outbreak occurred at the factory in question. Since the outbreak, the Labor Department has investigated six factories.
It found inadequate kitchen and resting areas. The investigators also found that some of the living spaces were poorly ventilated.
Top Glove, which is the world's biggest glove-maker, said it was working to improve accommodations for factory workers and changes are expected soon.
The company has since submitted to government-mandated shutdowns in factories to prevent further COVID-19 transmissions among workers.
Whistleblowers Speak Up
Five current and former Top Glove employees said in an interview with The New York Times that workers didn't receive results for their coronavirus tests.
The workers also said that they worked with sweat-soaked masks and had to do overtime for many weeks during the pandemic as demand for gloves and other medical safety gear rose.
Yam Narayan Chaudhary, who worked 13.5 hours at sentry shifts in the Top Glove factory died owing to COVID-19 complications earlier this month. According to his friends, Chaudhary waited three days to be transported to the hospital by the company.
Local and global labor activists have warned of social distancing and anti-coronavirus regulations potentially being breached at factories.