ATA IMS says it 'places significant emphasis' on workers' welfare, safety in response to forced labour allegations

ATA IMS says it 'places significant emphasis' on workers' welfare, safety in response to forced labour allegations
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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 26): ATA IMS Bhd said on Friday that as an electronic products contract manufacturer, its workers are the backbone of its business and that the company "places significant emphasis" on the welfare, safety and security of its workers.

In a statement filed with Bursa Malaysia, ATA IMS said: "The company highlights that it has existing policies and systems in place, including an existing anonymous whistle-blowing hotline operated by third parties, an established induction programme that educates workers on their available channels to highlight any concerns that they may have and counselling programme, to ensure the well-being of its workers."

ATA IMS’ press release has been reproduced below :

Labour practices and allegations of physical abuse by a former ATA IMS worker in Malaysia

26 November 2021 – ATA IMS Bhd refers to the news article by Reuters dated 25 November 2021 at 6.23 pm entitled “Dyson dumps Malaysian supplier ATA over labour concerns".

As a contract manufacturer whose workers are the backbone of its business, the company places significant emphasis on the welfare, safety and security of its workers.

The company highlights that it has existing policies and systems in place, including an existing anonymous whistleblowing hotline operated by third parties, an established induction programme that educates workers on their available channels to highlight any concerns that they may have and counselling programme, to ensure the well-being of its workers.

The company also engages professional dormitory operators to provide clean and hygienic accommodation and living facilities. The company also wishes to highlight that it is also subject to regular audits and inspection of the working and living conditions of its workers. Ad hoc inspections had also been carried out by the Department of Labour (Jabatan Tenaga Kerja), the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) as well as the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM).

In none of these audits and inspections were issues of forced labour found in the company. The company therefore takes a serious view of the allegations of forced labour practices mentioned in the summary of the audit that it has received, and the allegations of physical abuse made by the former ATA IMS worker mentioned in the news article which had come to its attention earlier.

The company has, immediately upon being notified of the summary of the audit, appointed a firm of consultants to review and verify those findings and to take remediation steps if necessary.

The company has registered with the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) for the Validated Assessment Program (VAP) audit via its online registration platform (RBA Membership #ID: G-C0-10011601) and is expected to be able to submit all the requirements by December 2021 and for the VAP audit to take place in the first quarter of 2022.

The company has also appointed a reputable and professional law firm in Malaysia to conduct an independent review of the allegations of physical abuse by the former ATA IMS worker. The preliminary findings of the independent law firm indicates that the allegations may be unjustified.

The detailed report and findings will be finalised soon. The company will make a further press release when the independent report is completed. The company reiterates that it will not hesitate to take stern disciplinary action against any person who is found to have breached its policies and/or committed acts against the welfare, safety and security of its workers.

To the extent that any acts amount to an offence under the law, the company will not hesitate to report them to the authorities.

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