ATA IMS Bhd, which is facing a split from its biggest client appliance maker Dyson over accusations of forced labour, says the claims of labour abuse are unjustified and unsubstantiated.
The company says it has engaged a prominent law firm, which it did not name in yesterday’s filing with Bursa Malaysia, to audit and investigate the allegations published by Reuters and made by some ATA employees, including foreign worker Dhan Kumar Limbu.
The company clarified the recent report with regard to Limbu, which was published on Nov 25, 2021.
“The company wishes to inform that the Johor police has issued a statement on Nov 27, 2021, stating that to date, it has not received any reports regarding the alleged physical abuse by the police of the aforesaid ATA worker.
“The company had also engaged a prominent law firm which conducted an independent audit. Based on its findings, the law firm concluded that the allegation made by the aforesaid worker is unjustified and unsubstantiated and unlikely to have taken place,” it said.
ATA IMS has also reiterated that it remains committed to ensuring the wellbeing of its local and foreign workforce as it delivers quality products and services to its customers in over 80 countries.
The filing with Bursa Malaysia is in response to the recent news report titled ‘Dyson splits with Malaysia supplier, stoking concern over migrant worker treatment’.
“ATA wishes to provide clarifications to the report, which it hopes will help readers to have a better perspective on ATA’s continuous and concerted efforts in addressing and improving its labour and social compliance standard and practices and ensuring positive business continuity.
The company claims that workers who perform over time do it solely on a voluntary basis, which Reuters say is not the case based on its interview of several workers.
On Nov 29, ATA said it saw a summary of Dyson’s audit, which found poor living conditions, concerns of retaliation and unpaid allowances, among other issues. It described the findings as “non-conclusive” and said it was reviewing them.
ATA said the company’s company policy strictly adheres to Malaysian labour law, which permits up to 104 hours on normal working days in a month.
ATA also has a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) compliance audit planned for December 2021.
“The company expects to pass this audit, validating its efforts in this area,” it said.
ATA is one of Malaysia’s top electronics manufacturing services providers supplying parts for Dyson that came to account for 80% of its revenue.
According to Reuters, ten current and former employees, and a former ATA executive, say the growth came with its mostly migrant workforce who were worked up to 15 hours a day, were often asked to skip rest days to keep up with demand, and were coached to hide true working and living conditions from labour inspectors and Dyson.
Source: Reuters and Bursa filing