KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 29 — The Guardian today reported of alleged exploitation of migrant workers by a labour supplier to McDonald’s in Malaysia, in the British newspaper’s continuing series that previously exposed such practises by two international electronics giants here.
According to its report published today, migrant workers employed by the chain through a third-party labour supplier claim they were misled about their pay, cheated of their wages through deceptive fees, and had their travel document taken.
The workers, mostly from Nepal, told the newspaper that some among them have allegedly been exploited for months and others for years by Human Connection, the firm that supplies manpower to McDonald’s in Kuala Lumpur.
They further alleged that they were paid as little as £0.60 (RM3.33) an hour; minimum wage here had been RM4.33 per hour, but has since been increased.
“They claim they were deceived about their wages and were charged additional fees when they arrived in Malaysia, resulting in a 25 per cent deduction in their basic monthly salary. Over the course of working at McDonald’s, this equated to the loss of months of wages,” the report said.
Some workers had reportedly also gone on strike earlier this year, in protest of their late salaries.
“We didn’t have the money to eat because we were not paid regularly.
“How can we go to work on an empty stomach? I thought it was a good company and I would earn good money. Now my life is damaged. I feel that I have no future,” one worker was quoted saying.
The Guardian said that it interviewed 15 Nepalese workers who were previously deployed at four McDonald’s restaurants in Kuala Lumpur, and who had worked at McDonald’s at different times over a three-year period.
More than half of the workers claimed that they were forced to abandon the jobs without their passports or unpaid waged, and entered the illegal work market in a desperate bid to earn some money.
The Guardian said that it was informed by McDonald’s that the company has ended its contract with Human Connection.
“At McDonald’s Malaysia, the welfare of staff is a top priority.
“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. As a result, we have terminated our contract with them,” McDonald’s reportedly said in its reply.
The UK newspaper previously exposed migrant worker exploitation at the plants of electronics firms Samsung and Panasonic in Malaysia.
Last week, Samsung and Panasonic said they have started probes into the serious allegations of exploitative practises in their supply chains in Malaysia that included extortion and forced labour of migrants.