McDon­ald’s drops labour sup­plier here

Con­tract ter­mi­nated over claims for­eign work­ers were ex­ploited

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ -

KUALA LUMPUR: Fast-food gi­ant McDon­ald’s said it has dropped a labour sup­ply agency in Malaysia after claims emerged that it was un­der­pay­ing its mi­grant work­ers and hous­ing them in ap­palling con­di­tions.

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion by Bri­tish news­pa­per The Guardian said the agency sup­ply­ing work­ers to McDon­ald’s was with­hold­ing their salaries, which were as low as 75 US cents (RM3.35) an hour, un­der­pay­ing promised wages, and con­fis­cat­ing their pass­ports.

The re­port was based on in­ter­views with 15 Nepali work­ers who had worked at dif­fer­ent McDon­ald’s restau­rants in Kuala Lumpur.

McDon­ald’s said it has ended its con­tract with the agency, Hu­man Con­nec­tion HR, and pledged staff wel­fare is a “top pri­or­ity”, with com­pa­nies glob­ally un­der mount­ing pres­sure to en­sure their sup­ply chains are free of slav­ery and ex­ploita­tion.

“Ear­lier this year, we be­came aware of cer­tain cir­cum­stances re­lat­ing to ser­vices pro­vided by Hu­man Con­nec­tion HR which were not in com­pli­ance with our stan­dards,” spokesman Ron Chris­tian­son said in a state­ment. “As a re­sult, we have ter­mi­nated our con­tract with them.”

There was no sug­ges­tion of any wrong­do­ing by McDon­ald’s.

Hu­man Con­nec­tion HR said it will hold a meet­ing and is­sue a re­sponse soon.

Chris­tian­son would not con­firm de­tails of the ex­ploita­tion, say­ing the work­ers were em­ploy­ees of the labour agency.

“Be­cause the work­ers are not em­ploy­ees of McDon­ald’s, our ef­forts to ad­dress the is­sues were un­suc­cess­ful, as were pro­pos­als for McDon­ald’s to as­sume re­spon­si­bil­ity for pay­ing work­ers di­rectly,” he said.

Hu­man Con­nec­tion HR had been sup­ply­ing work­ers to McDon­ald's in Malaysia for “a num­ber of years”, he added.

Chris­tian­son said the com­pany’s sup­pli­ers were bound to up­hold a code of con­duct which in­cludes safe­guard­ing worker’s rights.

McDon­ald’s hires over 12,000 peo­ple in Malaysia, and less than 5% are for­eign work­ers. – Thom­son Reuters Foun­da­tion

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