KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 7): ATA IMS Bhd said nearly 300 of its workers resigned in the first week of December after the company implemented a "zero overtime on Sunday" policy.
The policy was implemented because some of its managers had allowed their workers to work beyond the number of hours permitted, said the electronics manufacturing services provider which recently lost its major customer Dyson amid allegations of forced labour.
Clarifying a report by Reuters on Sunday (Dec 5) titled "Dyson splits with Malaysia supplier, stoking concern over migrant worker treatment", ATA IMS said its company policy strictly adheres to Malaysian labour law, which permits up to 104 hours on normal working days in a month.
"If workers perform overtime, it is solely on a voluntary basis. The company pays workers double pay for working on Sundays and triple pay for working on public holidays.
"In certain months, which have four Sundays and public holidays, a few managers had allowed their workers to work beyond the number of hours allowed.
"ATA IMS views this seriously and has taken remedial measures effective immediately to ensure that this does not reoccur.
"The company has started implementing a 'zero overtime on Sunday' policy; that unfortunately resulted in the resignations of close to 300 local and foreign workers in the first week of December 2021," the company added in a statement.
ATA IMS said all of its workers on its premises have valid work permits, adding however that it faced challenges with regard to work permits during the Movement Control Order due to limited operating capacity in government offices.
It also said it employs 222 supervisors within the entire business unit, who diligently perform their duties to ensure the smooth running of their divisions and the well-being of the employees under their supervision.
"In reference to Reuters' reporting, only one supervisor was engaged in a highly uncommon incident of coaching employees on what to say to auditors," it said, stressing that this is not a company policy and that action has been taken against the person.
ATA IMS also noted that there are external whistle-blowing channels available in multiple languages operated by independent third parties and supported by the Malaysian government and the company's human resources department.
The company explained that any report through these channels goes directly to its customers' legal teams and the Malaysian authorities, but "these complaints were not previously raised through any of these channels".
Referring to another Reuters report on Nov 25, ATA IMS said Johor police issued a statement on Nov 27 stating that they had not received any report regarding the alleged physical abuse by the police of its former worker named Dhan Kumar Limbu.
"The company had also engaged a prominent law firm, which conducted an independent audit. Based on its findings, the law firm concluded that the allegation made by the aforesaid worker was unjustified and unsubstantiated, and unlikely to have taken place," the company said.
Shares of ATA IMS closed 1.5 sen or 3.53% higher at 44 sen, giving the company a market capitalisation of RM524.04 million.