Dyson supplier ATA to work with human rights commission

FILE PHOTO: A Dyson logo is seen on one of company's products presented during an event in Beijing, China September 12, 2018. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Dyson's Malaysian supplier ATA IMS Bhd will work with the national human rights institution to improve its environmental, labour and social and governance (ESG) practices, the parts maker said on Monday.

The electronics manufacturing services company said it will work with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia, known locally as Suhakam, after Dyson, the company's largest customer, cut ties with ATA after an audit of its labour practices and allegations by a whistleblower.

The British home appliance maker's contract with ATA ends on June 1.

ATA said on Dec. 7 it had found instances of staff working excessive overtime and had taken action against a manager who coached employees for a labour audit.

ATA said Suhakam had visited its facilities on Sept. 27 to verify allegations of forced labour reported by media outlets, and provided feedback for improvement for the company's consideration.

It did not say what the feedback was but said it has implemented additional grievance channels for workers, terminated an agent that charged workers recruitment fees and improved communication issues at the company clinic treating workers.

Suhakam confirmed that it will be working with ATA to improve their practices.

ATA also said it "looks forward to working closely ... with the government, the Ministry of Human Resources and other relevant bodies in its efforts to step up on its ESG and (corporate social responsibility) efforts."

Malaysia charged ATA last month with four violations of labour law on accommodation for workers as it investigates complaints of forced labour.

ATA has asked for the charges to be dropped, saying any infractions were caused by the "challenges presented during the pandemic".

In the past two-and-a-half years, seven Malaysian firms, including the world's biggest glove maker and palm oil producer, have faced U.S. import bans over allegations of forced labour.

(Reporting by Liz Lee, Editing by Louise Heavens)

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