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FGV takes systemic approach to address labour issues, US Customs withhold order

03 Dec 2020 / 23:48 H.

PETALING JAYA: FGV Holdings Bhd said it has decided to take a systematic approach in ensuring that the rights of its workers are respected and protected, thereby eliminating practices indicative of labour exploitation, as part of its plan to address the Withhold Release Order (WRO) issued by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) against FGV’s palm oil and palm oil products.

This is to ensure that the best labour practices are observed in accordance with international standards throughout its entire operations.

“FGV is committed to ensure the completion of its on-going efforts towards further improving the hard infrastructure of its facilities within a reasonable period of time, for the benefit of its workers. This includes added improvements on housing, clinics, schools, shops, and places of worship,” it said.

Meanwhile, FGV has also decided to revisit the appointment of an independent third-party audit firm for an imminent audit of its operations, after it is satisfied that all the measures have been strengthened and implemented accordingly.

In the meantime, it said it will continue to engage with the CBP to keep them abreast on the various measures undertaken and its other ongoing initiatives pertaining to labour rights in particular, and human rights in general.

“While noting that CBP indicated that the issuance of the WRO against FGV was based on information from a year-long investigation that reasonably indicates the use of forced labour, all issues raised by the CBP have been the subject of public discourse since 2015 and FGV has been rigorously working towards enhancement of its labour practices,“ FGV said in a statement today.

FGV’s continuous effort in ensuring the implementation of FGV’s human rights and labour policies on the ground is evidenced by the various initiatives and programmes that FGV has embarked on, in particular its affiliation to the Fair Labour Association (FLA).

FGV has also appointed the independent advisory panel to advise FGV on matters relating to governance and sustainability including labour matters.

“FGV is committed to taking all necessary steps and measures towards the revocation of the WRO.

On Oct 8, FGV has communicated with the CBP via conference call to seek clarification on the allegations of forced labour within FGV’s plantations. The CBP, however, did not reveal any information about its findings except that its research had identified 11 International Labour Organisation indicators of forced labour in FGV’s practices.

“The CBP did not disclose any further information about its findings including the nature or locations of any incidence linked to such indicators,“ said FGV.

FGV restated its commitment to implementing its action plan under its affiliation with the FLA. The next progress report of the implementation of this action plan is due to be published on March 31, 2021.

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