Decent Work and Economic Growth

 

Sime Darby Plantation (SDP) recognises that ensuring decent work for all workers means providing equal and fair opportunities for employment, social protection, respecting rights at work and providing the platform for workers' voice and social dialogue. We respect the rights of workers by providing a platform for social dialogue and workers’ voices to be heard.


Eradicating Exploitation

Challenges faced by migrant workers are not unique to the palm oil sector and have varying levels of complexities depending on the workers' countries/provinces of origin. We engage with a wide range of stakeholders in an effort to advocate for policy reform that benefits the workforce and is better for society.

We recognise that the recruitment practices relating to foreign workers may be vulnerable to the risks and associated with modern-day slavery and exploitation. We are therefore committed to enhancing the migration experience of our foreign workers through Responsible Recruitment practices, which include:
 
  • No Recruitment fees – we do not charge workers for employment, and are working with our stakeholders to understand procedures, mapping migration routes and identifying supply chain players to ensure the unscrupulous practice comes to a stop on our plantations.
         Click HERE to view our Vendor COBC requirements.
 
  • No retention of documents – workers passports are not withheld by the management. Should they want us to keep their passports, workers must adopt an informed consent procedure. In Malaysia, individual secure lockers are being installed in stages for foreign workers to keep their passport.
 
  • No contract substitution – we ensure clear and concise communication on employment terms and conditions of work pre and post workers' departure from their country of origin. Our contracts are translated to local languages with terms aligned to the respective national/local collective bargaining agreements. Each worker is provided a copy of the contract and any revisions will be socialised with clear explanations given to workers.
Highlights of our direct foreign workers hiring to Malaysia:
 
  • SDP is involved in the entire hiring process: from quota approvals, recruitment drives at the country of origins, immigration clearance to self pick-ups at the Malaysian airport.
  • our dedicated Workforce Management Teams are present at recruitment drives in the villages and recruitment centres to promote recruitment efforts, conducts interviews and selection of workers. Our presence at all key stages ensures that from the beginning, workers are given clear explanation on the company and the type of work being offered  

  

  
 
  • our recruitment materials are produced in-house, enriched with clear visuals on the actual work conditions in the local languages that the potential workers can understand.
  • as we appoint recruitment agents to assist us in gathering workers for our recruitment drives, our regular engagements with them include capacity building on ethical recruitments and monitoring their progress through our vendor monitoring/review programme.
  • we pay for all official costs from the point of offer by the company and acceptance by the worker to the point of worker’s return. To verify this, we provide workers with pre and post-arrival self-declarations forms.
  • on a larger context, we are aware that migrant workers continue to face challenges in recruitments. We are committed to work with the industry players to look into the remaining challenges such as workers’ heavy reliance on sponsors and payment to costs that they do not understand.
 
Ensuring Favourable Working Conditions

We endeavour to provide decent working and living conditions to spur the social advancement of the communities where we operate. In all our operations, we remain steadfast in our goal to create a productive labour force by delivering fair income within reasonable working conditions. For our operations that are located in challenging and developing areas, living arrangements and access to basic needs are also provided and are considered central to the well-being of our people.
Decent wages

We ensure workers are paid according to country/ province minimum wage orders and type of work carried out. Workers are also provided with other in-kind benefits that make up the proportion of their wages. Depending on the location, this amount may vary, but the ratio remains similar. Work in the plantations typically comprises of harvesting, fruit picking and general upkeep work which include amongst others, spraying and weeding. Workers are either paid daily or by piece rate. Piece rate workers' prices are productivity based and have volume targets. They are eligible for allowances and harvesting groups are further incentivised through premiums paid on additional fruits that are collected or harvested. Collective union agreements provide guidance on calculation of workers’ monthly earning.

 
Working and Living Conditions

At Sime Darby Plantation, we strive to ensure our workers are provided with adequate working and living conditions at all times. Workers are furnished with basic housing and have access to basic needs such as electricity and clean water, which are considered central to the well-being of our people. Amenities within the compounds of every estate such as a convenience store, a clinic, places of worship, and areas for sporting events, allow our workers to have a balanced life outside of work. This helps with their overall well-being while working with Sime Darby Plantation.

 

 

 

We also firmly believe that good working conditions help promote decent work and a productive workforce. To help with that, Sime Darby Plantation provides workers with all the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) that are required to be used while working. Transportation for workers, as well as their tools, is also provided from their housing area to their work area. This is especially useful for workers working in areas that are far from their homes.

As part of our effort to help our workers, our workers are provided with free medical checkups and treatments at the clinic in their respective estates, two bags of 5kg rice every two months, and a RM100 festival allowance to celebrate their respective festivals every single year.

We understand that the core of our company is our workforce and they are the most important asset which holds the company together. Ensuring that they are safe, happy, and satisfied while working with us is our top priority.

To have a better understanding of how a day in the life of a Sime Darby Plantation worker is like, watch the video below.
 
Freedom of Association

We respect the rights of our employees to join and form organisations of their own choice and to bargain collectively. Depending on the locations we operate in, we ensure workers are aware of and understand their freedom to choose to be part of unions. We also encourage them to voice their concerns and ensure collective agreements reflect their concerns. In localities where formal unions do not exist, we encourage the formation of joint consultative councils and other similar platforms for workers to raise their concerns and safeguard their rights. For us, it is crucial that our workers, including those who are not union members (approximately 30% of the workforce) to have access to proper channels to air their grievances.​

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