FGV Holdings Berhad (FGV) is making significant strides in its efforts to address the Withhold Release Order (WRO) issued by the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
In line with its commitment to ethical and responsible recruitment standards, emphasising a ‘no recruitment fee’ policy for workers, FGV has earmarked a total of RM112 million to reimburse recruitment fees to its migrant workers, including former ones.
The reimbursements, totaling RM72.2 million, were disbursed in three installments in March, June, and September 2023, benefiting 19,673 workers.
The company has placed a high priority on implementing a comprehensive remediation plan to uphold labor rights and rectify any shortcomings in its labor practices.
A pivotal aspect of FGV’s remediation initiative is the reimbursement of recruitment fees imposed on its migrant workers by third-party recruitment agencies.
Upon completion of the reimbursement program for current workers, FGV has engaged LRQA (formerly known as ELEVATE) to conduct a verification of the exercise. LRQA, a prominent global assurance partner, specializing in sustainability consulting, conducted verification procedures from October 30 to November 24, 2023.
The assessment revealed that 100 percent of the interviewed workers had received all three tranches of reimbursement, underscoring FGV’s commitment to fulfilling its promise to compensate workers and protect their rights and welfare.
FGV is also extending the reimbursement program to its former migrant workers eligible for recruitment fee reimbursements.
With LRQA’s support, FGV is actively informing former workers about the program through periodic publications on FGV’s social media platforms and local newspapers in their respective countries of origin. This initiative will continue until the end of 2024, with FGV having already reimbursed 415 former workers, amounting to RM1.77 million.
Dato’ Nazrul Mansor, group CEO of FGV, emphasized the company’s unwavering commitment to the ‘no recruitment fee for workers’ principle, asserting that FGV has taken comprehensive steps to align its recruitment procedures with ethical standards.
FGV has further enhanced its migrant worker recruitment procedures by introducing additional measures. LRQA is now engaged in conducting surveys among newly recruited workers to verify if any recruitment fees were paid.
Revised agreements with recruitment agencies now mandate reimbursement for workers claiming any recruitment fees. All agency reimbursements will undergo LRQA verification, and agencies will undergo screening and a capacity-building program to ensure compliance with ethical recruitment standards before their appointment.
These initiatives underscore FGV’s steadfast commitment to ethical labor practices and its ongoing efforts to rectify past issues, reflecting a dedication to ensuring fair and just treatment for its workers.