Statement from Former Worker at Possehl
Nearly one year ago, 30 migrant workers and forced labour victims received some monetary compensation from Possehl Electronics in Malaysia, following an Electronics Watch investigation and joint buyer pressure. Their employer, the JS Global Services agency, had confiscated their passports, delayed wage payments for months, made illegal deductions from their wages, and violently threatened the workers when they asked for their wages. Buyers took action to ensure compliance with their codes of conduct. And yet many of these workers are still subsisting in intolerable conditions, exploited by other unscrupulous employers, and at risk of arrest, detention, and deportation.
Listen to the recorded statement from a former worker at Possehl. Their voice has been changed to protect their identity.
Recorded in May, 2020
From 2016 to 2019, working in the Possehl electronics company in Melaka, Malaysia, were a total of 30 illegal migrant workers under the agent, JS Global agency, including me.
We all requested Possehl HR management to employ us directly under Possehl, but Possehl HR manager said we couldn't become employees under Possehl because we were all under an agent.
When we were working at Possehl we found it very difficult to manage for food, room rent, and utilities bills because we got a very low salary and no allowance and bonus from Possehl.
JS Global also paid our salary very late and deducted our salary every month for passport, work permit and visa, more than $2,500 per person in total. But the agent did not give us our passport or work permit or visa so we stayed as illegal workers all this time.
At the time the Possehl company managing director from Germany visited, he also didn't take any action on our problem. When we were working, he talked with us, and asked, are you ok or not? Only that.
When we asked JS Global when we can get our salary, the agent said wait and wait. After we made the request to him many times, he threatened us with a knife and would hit the workers. He also threatened a worker at the hostel. He also tried to complain to immigration police to arrest to us. The agent was doing this every month.
JS Global held our salary for the months of March and April 2019. He then called us for a meeting on the 11th of May 2019 at JS Global offices, after we complained to Electronics Watch. At that time JS Global told us to stop to work at Possehl. On the 13th of May 2019, Possehl arranged to pay our two month salary [owed by JS Global].
On the 15th of May 2019 Possehl called all workers under the agent and paid us RM230 or around US$60 per month times the total months that we had worked at Possehl. At the same time we all requested to Possehl HR management that we want to be an employee under Possehl, but HR manager said he can't make new employees in Possehl.
After Possehl work we are without regular jobs and without documents in Malaysia. We alone must pay room rent, utilities bills and arrange foods. It is a very difficult situation until now.
Now we want new passport, work permit, visa, and to become new employees at any electronic company. It is difficult to go back home because we have more borrowed money from friends at home with high interest. So that we want to be new employees and have new passport and work permit visa in Malaysia. That's all.