IOI Corporation Berhad (IOI) came together with several palm oil industry leaders in Malaysia to exchange labour practices and mechanisms in addressing forced labour and child labour issues at an International Labour Organization (ILO) workshop on 21 September 2022 in Kuala Lumpur.
The ‘Assisting the Malaysian Palm Oil Industry in Addressing Forced Labour and Child Labour’ workshop was held by the ILO’s Advancing Workers’ Rights in the Palm Oil Sector in Indonesia and Malaysia Project (Palm Oil Project), funded by the US Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour to strengthen global labour ties and standards.
Acknowledging that the remoteness of plantation estates and palm oil mills could be a hurdle to grievances and accountability, IOI has embarked on a digital transformation journey to drive operational efficiency and enhance our labour practices. Our SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) system enables integrated tracking of working hours while ensuring prompt and fair wage disbursement. Other digital programmes include our Merchantrade e-wallet salary crediting system and direct online recruitment interviews with candidates in the source country to counter forced labour indicators.
“We launched a grievance reporting application called ‘IOI Mesra’ where our people on the ground can submit complaints or highlight issues while getting notified on the progress for dispute resolution on a real-time basis. The mobile application can be installed on personal smartphones which enables our employees to raise issues directly with the human resource department in their native languages,” said IOI Group Head of Sustainability Dr Surina Ismail at the event.
IOI also protects the rights of our workforce by ensuring that their voices are heard through various channels without fear of repercussions and that their grievances and complaints are being addressed in a timely manner. All our workers are being informed of their rights which cover workers’ benefits, labour laws and forced labour indicators. Their training material consists of ILO’s Forced Labour indicators, IOI’s Code of Conduct on Ethical Recruitment and Responsible Employment as well as related policies and guidelines.
Forced labour and child labour may stem from a lack of experience or capacity in responsible labour practices. This knowledge-sharing workshop is a timely reminder that the entire palm oil industry will benefit from working closely with government agencies, business membership organisations, worker representative organisations, child and forced labour experts, and civil society groups to tackle these important labour challenges.
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