(Updated)

UK govt sued for using Supermax gloves on forced labour allegations

UK govt sued for using Supermax gloves on forced labour allegations
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KUALA LUMPUR (May 20): The UK High Court had on Wednesday (May 18) allowed a case against the UK government to proceed for its continued use of gloves manufactured by Supermax Corp Bhd due to forced labour allegations against the Malaysian company, legal news and commentary website Jurist reported.

"In December 2021, the UK awarded a contract to Supermax to supply the National Health Service (NHS) with disposable gloves.

"All the Citizens, represented by UK law firm, Wilson Solicitors, is suing the government for continuing its relationship with the Malaysian company, despite an investigation uncovering allegations of forced labour in Supermax’s factories,” Jurist reported on Thursday (May 19).

Forced labour allegations against Supermax stemmed from among others, an October 20, 2021 statement by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which indicated that effective October 21, 2021, CBP officers at all US ports of entry would detain disposable rubber gloves produced by Supermax’s wholly-owned subsidiaries which included Maxter Glove Manufacturing Sdn Bhd and Supermax Glove Manufacturing.

"CBP issued a Withhold Release Order (WRO) against Supermax Corp Bhd and its subsidiaries based on information that reasonably indicates their use of forced labour in manufacturing operations," the CBP said.

The CBP said it identified 10 of the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) indicators of forced labour during its investigation on Supermax.

In response to the CBP’s forced labour claims, Supermax said in a statement on January 3, 2022 that the company takes its compliance issue seriously and that the company had embarked on its undertakings to meet the ILO's standards since 2019.

"The implementation of the new Foreign Worker Management Policy (of Supermax) will speed up the process in meeting the ILO standards and ensure that compliance and best practices are well adopted in the company’s HR (human resource) practices,” Supermax said.

Supermax said that it was in the process of updating the CBP on the improvements made under Supermax's new policies regarding its foreign workers.

"Supermax views compliance as a serious matter, and is cooperating with authorities and relevant bodies to ensure that the new policies implemented meet with the ILO standards,” Supermax said.

At Bursa Malaysia on Friday (May 20), Supermax’s share price closed down two sen or 1.9% at RM1.03 for a market value of about RM2.7 billion.

Supermax has 2.62 billion outstanding shares, according to its latest quarterly financial report.