FGV reimburses RM72.2 mln to 19,673 migrant workers

FGV reimburses RM72.2 mln to 19,673 migrant workers

KUALA LUMPUR,. FGV Holdings Bhd has reimbursed RM72.2 million in recruitment fees to its 19,673 migrant workers, in its efforts to modify the Withhold Release Order (WRO) issued by the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The plantation company, in a statement released on its website, said it has allocated RM112 million to reimburse recruitment fees to its migrant workers, including former migrant workers.

The reimbursements were made in three tranches paid in March, June, and September 2023, respectively.
It said FGV has given top priority to implement a remediation plan to uphold labour rights and address any gaps in its labour practices.

A key component of FGV’s remediation programme is the reimbursement of recruitment fees imposed on its migrant workers by third-party recruitment agencies.

On completion of the reimbursement programme for its current workers, FGV appointed global assurance partner LRQA to conduct a verification of the reimbursement exercise.

LRQA’s verification procedures between Oct 30 and Nov 24, 2023 concluded that all the workers interviewed received all three tranches.

The outcome of LRQA’s verification process reflects “FGV’s determination to fulfill its commitment to recompense workers” and to “safeguard” their rights and welfare, FGV said, adding that eligible former migrant workers will also receive recruitment fee reimbursements.

FGV is reaching out to former workers with LRQA support to inform them about the programme which is publicised periodically on FGV’s social media accounts as well as in local newspapers in the workers’ countries of origin.

The former worker reimbursement programme will be carried out until end-2024. FGV has reimbursed 415 former workers amounting to RM1.77 million to date.

FGV group chief executive officer Datuk Nazrul Mansor said FGV is fully committed to the principle of “no recruitment fee for workers”.

“We have made every effort towards ensuring that our procedures are aligned with ethical recruitment standards,” he said.

FGV instituted additional measures including engaging LRQA to conduct surveys among newly recruited workers to ascertain if they had paid any recruitment fees.

FGV’s revised agreements with appointed recruitment agencies stipulate the agencies’ obligations to reimburse workers who claimed to have made any form of fees during recruitment. LRQA will verify reimbursements made by the agencies.

Recruitment agencies will also be screened before their appointments and must undergo an assessment and capacity-building programme facilitated by LRQA to ensure they comply with ethical recruitment standards.

FGV believes that these initiatives and measures will further strengthen its labour practices as it continues efforts to lift the WRO.

LRQA is expected to conduct its follow-up assessment in the first quarter of 2024 to verify the implementation of FGV’s overall remediation plan.

“With the outcome of the assessment, FGV will then prepare a petition to the CBP to modify the WRO, which will be submitted by the end of the second quarter of 2024,” it added.


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