Decent work in global supply chains

Sustainable Supply Chains to Build Forward Better: Decent Work in the Rubber Glove Supply Chain

“Sustainable Supply Chains to Build Forward Better” is a joint initiative of the International Labour Organization and European Commission (EC) that sets out to advance decent work in five selected global supply chains for a fair, resilient, and sustainable COVID-19 crisis recovery. Rubber glove manufacturing in Malaysia is one of them.

Rubber gloves production line. © Shutterstock

Background

Malaysia exports rubber products to more than 190 countries and holds a share of 62 per cent of the global market for rubber gloves. Demand for surgical and other types of rubber gloves has increased significantly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Migrant workers make up a significant proportion of the industry workforce yet remain vulnerable to unfair recruitment practices, confiscation of passports, withholding of wages, forced labour, excessive working hours, poor occupational safety and health practices, and inadequate living conditions.

Manufacturers need to find new strategies to meet soaring orders, while at the same time ensuring the promotion and protection of fair recruitment, labour rights and workplace safety throughout the industry.

Objectives

  1. To promote decent work in the rubber glove supply chain as key to the social and economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis – building back better;
  2. To engage stakeholders and promote social dialogue all along the supply chain to keep decent work at the forefront and explore possibilities for a “new normal” during and after COVID-19 recovery – stakeholder engagement;
  3. To support Malaysia Government, employers, workers and other stakeholders' actions to make decent work a defining framework of the post-COVID era – stakeholders' actions.