VS Industry to uphold labour rights as EMS under activist’s spotlight

by NUR HANANI AZMAN / pic source: vs-i.com

ELECTRONICS manufacturing service (EMS) provider VS Industry Bhd is serious in its efforts to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of all employees including its migrant workers. 

Its MD Datuk SY Gan said managing a large pool of migrant workers indeed comes with challenges and the group has experienced and trained personnel in charge of the management of migrant workers. 

“We are in compliance with all government regulations with regards to our migrant workers. We have also passed the latest audit checks by the Responsible Business Alliance, as well as by our key customers with no material issues highlighted. 

“Notwithstanding this, we acknowledge and appreciate the concerns brought up by Migrant Worker Rights Specialist, Andy Hall, and we understand where he is coming from,” Gan said in a statement to the exchange yesterday. 

VS Industry stated that the company has proactively reached out to Hall, following references made to VS Industry by him during a recent investor briefing on the topic of migrant workers’ welfare in Malaysia. 

“My areas of concern include the legality of the use of outsourced migrant workers through third-party agents, the risks inherent in the government’s recalibration scheme as well as working hours, living wage and social dialogue issues, among others. 

“However, my recent comments were not meant as a direct reference to indicate irremediable migrant worker issues at VS Industry,” Hall was quoted in the statement.

At this juncture, Hall noted that he has no intention to launch further public campaigns against any specific companies that are open to constructive dialogue on migrant worker rights, given the inherent risks of publicity to the wellbeing of all concerned, especially the workers and their families.

He stressed that it is also important to ensure migrant workers’ livelihoods are sustained while not compromising their welfare. 

It would not be an ideal situation if in the end, any worker, whether Malaysian or migrant, lose their jobs due to exploitation of situations that could and should be remedied. 

“Nevertheless, I do believe my concerns are valid and should be treated seriously by companies, the government and investors in Malaysia and globally. 

“Hence, I urge both suppliers, buyers and brands to urgently remediate serious social non-compliance issues and ensure a much-needed strengthening in the overall sectoral and corporate approach to engaging and improving social compliance, as the ‘S’ is often left behind in the environment, social and governance (ESG) concerns for the industry,” he added. 

In response, VS Industry stated that it was open to working with external parties including civil society who can add value and further strengthen its ESG initiatives, including enhancing the welfare of migrant workers. 

The statement comes after the company’s stock prices experienced volatility and fell sharply to hit limit down momentarily in trading last Thursday. 

The stock price recovered 10 sen to close at RM1.25 yesterday amid active trade. Institutional shareholders like the Retirement Fund Inc sold some 6.58 million shares on Dec 2 while Datuk Beh Kim Ling bought some 3.36 million shares on Dec 6, filing to the exchange revealed. 

With over 40 years since its establishment, VS Industry noted that it has built a strong reputation with its multinational clients like Dyson Ltd and wants to ensure all its practices are above board to uphold its reputation with clients and build long term relationships with them. 

The announcement comes on the heels of Dyson terminating its business relationship with supplier ATA IMS Bhd last month following an audit of the Malaysian company’s labour practices and allegations made by a whistleblower. 

VS Industry is one of Dyson’s major manufacturers in Malaysia.