Promoting Ethical Recruitment Practices through Multi-stakeholder Dialogue

MY Voice jointly hosted the Responsible Recruitment Symposium with the Consumer Goods Forum’s (CGF) People Positive Palm project on 25th April in Kuala Lumpur. The symposium brought together a wide range of stakeholders to discuss the critical issues surrounding ethical hiring practices and the treatment of workers in global supply chains. Over 60 participants, including industry leaders, government representatives, and non-governmental organizations, joined to promote responsible recruitment practices that ensure fair treatment of workers and compliance with international labour standards.

Panelists at the Responsible Recruitment Symposium.

The first session featured presentations by Malaysia government representatives from Ministry of Human Resources, Department of Labour (Peninsula Malaysia) and the Department of Immigration. They shared insights on the progress and ongoing efforts of government bodies to protect migrant workers, who make up 70 percent of the sector’s workforce. The representatives highlighted Malaysia’s ongoing efforts to enhance monitoring and compliance mechanisms to prevent forced labour and to improve worker protection through new legislation and certification systems. This was followed by a panel discussion featuring representatives from companies Sime Darby and FGV, as well as civil society organizations (CSOs) Our Journey, the National Union of Plantation Workers (NUPW), and Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB). Our Journey, a MY Voice partner, provided insights from the workers’ perspectives, emphasizing the challenges faced by migrant workers and the need for employers to focus on improving the existing working conditions and welfare of their workers.

Key recommendations from the symposium include:

Companies should adopt the Employer Pays Principle to eliminate worker-paid recruitment fees and reduce the risk of debt bondage.

Governments should enhance regulatory frameworks and enforcement mechanisms to protect workers and ensure compliance with international labour standards.

Companies should implement comprehensive due diligence processes to identify, prevent, and mitigate risks associated with unethical recruitment practices.

All stakeholders should promote collaboration among businesses, governments, and civil society to drive systemic change and ensure the protection of workers’ rights.

All stakeholders should work to increase transparency, monitor recruitment practices, and empower workers to report abuses.

 The Responsible Recruitment Symposium underscored the urgent need for a paradigm shift in how workers are recruited and treated in global supply chains. MY Voice continues working with various stakeholders to enhance collaborative opportunities to leverage and address workers’ rights issues through direct worker engagement in management systems operation and advocacy and engagement.

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