ETI has become increasingly concerned about allegations around the abuse of migrant workers in Malaysia. This includes unsafe working conditions and low pay as well as charges of workers being at risk of debt bondage and modern slavery.
Allegations around the violation of migrant workers’ rights in Malaysia have been steadily growing. As have concerns about government proposals to deduct 20% of a migrant worker’s earnings without consent, which breaches international labour standards.
It’s why, under the leadership of amfori – the global business association for open and sustainable trade which brings together over 2,000 retailers, importers, brands and associations from more than 40 countries – we've teamed up with:
- Initiativ for etisk handel (IEH), the Ethical Trading Initiative Norway, which is a member-based resource and training centre for ethical trade;
- Social Accountability International (SAI), creators of the multi-industry SA8000 Standard;
- Sedex, the responsible sourcing platform.
Together we’re asking the Malaysian government to collaborate with us to tackle the issue.
ETI spokesperson, Martin Buttle confirms that migrant workers are highly vulnerable to exploitation. “The life of a migrant worker is often a harsh and isolated one, cut off from support networks and frequently denied the same rights as national workers."
As a consortium, we are ready to work with the Malaysian government and other organisations in the country, including migrant worker associations and trade unions, to offer meaningful solutions to the challenges faced by migrant workers.
Martin Buttle concludes: “Both Malaysia's employment and policy environment should support decent work for migrants and ensure their rights are respected. Those rights include entitlement to remedy in cases of abuse.”
Within ETI, we have also set up a members’ working group to take forward action under ETI auspices.