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Home NATIONALIOI Group workers exploited in Malaysia: Finnwatch
Wed, 17 Sep, 2014 12:09:47 AM
FTimes Report, Sept 17

The IOI Group of Malaysia has been found exploiting migrant workers in palm oil plantations, alleges a Finnwatch report.

In a release the Finnish NGO says IOI Group pays wages lower than the statutory minimum wage, confiscates its worker’ passports and restricts freedom of association.

According to the Finnwatch report, over 80 per cent of the workers at IOI plantations are migrant workers from countries such as Indonesia, Bangladesh and Nepal.

“The employment contract encourages workers to work up to 10-12-hour workdays. Wages are based on the amount of palm oil bunches gathered by a worker, and workers do not receive compensation for overtime. Many workers do not earn even the statutory minimum wage,” explains Finnwatch Executive Director Sonja Vartiala.

IOI Group palm oil plantations in Malaysia. File Photo Lehtikuva.
According to Finnwatch, findings in the report meet with the International Labour Organization’s indicators for forced labour and human trafficking.

“Many workers told us that they had been scammed and wanted to return to their home country. However, as they had no money and had incurred debt, they had no other option than to work at the plantation,” said Vartiala

Neste Oil and Paulig Group, who receive palm oil supplies from IOI Group, have already initiated procedures to investigate and correct the problems brought to light by the report. All the plantations researched by Finnwatch were RSPO and ISCC certified and the report criticises leading palm oil certifications for inadequate monitoring of working conditions.

In addition to Neste Oil and Paulig Group, the Finnwatch report researched the responsibility of nine other companies that operated in Finland. All the companies believed that RSPO certification would ensure that responsibility was monitored.


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