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Kulim has put in place a group-wide policy of treating all its employees with the fairness and dignity they deserve. Our human resource policies are governed by Malaysia’s labour laws as well as the International Labour Organisation’s (“ILO”) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at work. We are also guided by the Code of Conduct for Industrial Harmony, which sets forth the “principles and guidelines to employers on the practice of industrial relations for achieving greater industrial harmony”.

To protect our employees from unethical conduct, all employees are expected to abide by the Ethics Declaration Form and adhere to the Group’s Social Media Policy. We are also committed to the highest standard of integrity, openness and accountability in the conduct of our business and operations. Since 2013, we have put in place a Whistle blowing Policy that encourages staff to come forward with credible information on issues or wrong-doing that merit concern.

Kulim is also implementing the Conflict of Interest Policy, which will reinforce and provide guidelines on Corporate Business Principles by establishing certain non-negotiable minimum standards of behavior in key areas. In the interest of its employees, the Group adopts a zero tolerance stance on the use of illegal drugs, banned substances and alcohol in the workplace.

DEVELOPING OUR PEOPLE
The people aspect of Sustainability has always had a special meaning for Kulim. We share the global vision to build healthy and vibrant communities. Improving the well-being of the individual on an equitable basis, practicing ethical responsibility in dealing with the communities in which we work and play, and protecting the vulnerable form the basis of our sustainability agenda.

Beginning in our own backyard, our employees are the Group’s greatest assets. The contribution of our people assets to Kulim’s success cannot be over-stated. We have a great team on board with a diversity of talent, knowledge and experience to take us to where we want to be. Therefore, we are determined to foster a workplace culture and environment that attracts, retains and develop our people to reach their fullest potential so that we can continue to deliver value to our stakeholders.




STAFF STRENGTH
As at end of 2018, we had a total staff strength of 7,031 full-time employees in Malaysia. Of this total, 5,761 or 81.94% were classified as workers with the remaining 18.06% comprising management and staff. Foreign workers made up 78.56% of the Group’s staff strength, coming mainly from Indonesia, India and Bangladesh. In 2018, we recorded a turnover rate of below 6%, a testament to the Group’s strong retention power.

We strive to inculcate an inclusive work environment, where we have strictly enforced a policy of non-discrimination against women, ethnic or religious minority groups and foreign workers. We also subscribe to the basic labour right of ‘equal pay for equal work’ for all field, office and management employees based on pre-defined grades.

CORE LABOUR STANDARD


1.  LIVING CONDITIONS

Workers are typically accommodated in two(2) or three (3)-bedroom house that meets the minimum standard of the Housing and Amenities Act 1990. Weekly inspections are carried out to ensure that all living quarters, as well as nurseries and community halls are in good operating condition.

2. MANAGING OVERTIME

During peak harvest seasons, mill workers tend to work longer hours to ensure that the fruits are processed before the quality deteriorates. However, we ensure that workers do not exceed the overtime limits to comply with the guidelines issued by the Department of Labour.

3. CHILD AND BONDED LABOUR

Child and bonded labour is illegal, but it continues to thrive in many third world countries. Kulim does not employ anyone below the age of 16. For many of our workers with families, Kulim provides their children with access to schools and other amenities for the welfare and development of these young minds.

4. COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

We respect the right of our employees to join organisations of their own choosing as part of our commitment to freedom of association. The Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”) that we have signed with our workers is periodically negotiated and reflect work-related issues such as working conditions, wages and benefits, among others. A total of 2,741 or 38.98% of our employees are covered by the terms of the CBA.




HUMAN CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT

Performance Management System Kulim acknowledges the critical importance of a skilled workforce as a prerequisite for the continued success of its business. Throughout 2018, we continued to strengthen our organisational capabilities.Among our many initiatives, we have in place a Performance Management System (“PMS”) that is aimed at promoting a high performance culture. We have also implemented a performance based Reward System to improve employee competencies. Each year, the targets are reviewed and the bar is raised so as to challenge the Group and employees to achieve the next level of performance.

JOB ROTATION
The Group’s job rotation and generic training programmes are specifically tailored to bridge the skill gaps of staff at all levels. Our experience has proven that job rotation can increase the depth and breadth of an employee’s knowledge and capabilities, there by adding value to the organisation. An employee is moved from one job to another, handling a schedule of assignments that have been designed to give the staff maximum exposure to a range of the Group’s operations. Apart from learning new skills, job rotation facilitates a better understanding of the organisation as a whole and the functions of its respective operating units and departments.

ENGAGEMENT SESSIONS
Building a strong pipeline of leaders is a fundamental part of our sustainability strategy. Millennials are quickly becoming the influential segment of today’s workforce as they reach their peak employment years. They bring with them new perceptions of what office life should be like and how relationships should be structured. Compared with Gen-X employees and baby boomers, millennials are more likely to change jobs if they do not believe there are opportunities for them to move up the corporate ladder. Kulim understands that millennials want their points of view to be heard and through regular staff engagement sessions, they now have a platform to voice their concerns and expectations.

UP-SKILLING PROGRAMMES
One of the Group’s emphasis in human capital development is to promote a learning environment for our staff. In this respect, Kulim has always encouraged interested employees to pursue professional qualifications such as ACCA, CIMA, MIA, Certified Integrity Officer (“CeIO”) and Human Resource Certification (CAHRM and CHRO) to enhance their core competencies and specialise in specific areas that are relevant to the Group’s operations. At the same time, we continue to collaborate with Johor Skills Development Centre or PUSPATRI, ILP Pasir Gudang and also IKM Johor Bahru to conduct technical courses for our employees.

Each year, we assess the potential and performance of identified candidates through the Johor Corporation Leadership Programme (“JLP”) and Advanced Johor Corporation Leadership Programme (“AJLP”). Participants are exposed to business challenges in a variety of scenarios and have the opportunity to share leadership experiences. In 2018, a total of four (4) employees were selected for the AJLP. On the other hand, the JLP series have produced three (3)batches of participants, with a total of 19 graduates.

The Strategic Enhance Executive Development System (“SEEDS”) Programme, which was launched in 2007, has been re engineered and registered with Skim Latihan 1 Malaysia (“SL1M”), which came under the aegis of the Economic Planning Unit (“EPU”) of the Prime Minister’s Office. The programme aims to develop and enhance leadership amongst the younger generation. The re engineered SL1M program was launched in December 2016 with an intake of 19 fresh graduates from local higher learning institutions. Another four (4) fresh graduates were selected for the second intake commencing April 2017, while the third intake, which began in July 2017, had a total of six (6) candidates. Which ten (10) of them had been offered permanent positions within Kulim group.




TALENT MANAGEMENT AND MANPOWER SUCCESSION PLANNING
Succession planning is one of the most important aspects of our human capital development strategy to actualise the Group’s forward plans. Kulim had introduced a revised Talent Management Framework to support its Manpower Succession Plans for key and critical positions in the management hierarchy. The talent management frameworks covers a number of key areas, including identification of candidates with the right potential, talent development programme, mentoring and coaching, and placement of the talent pool in core and strategic units to develop the overall exposure. The ultimate goal is to ensure the placement of the right talent for the right job at the right time, as well as to ensure leadership readiness for key position as and when the need arises.


ENGENDERING GENDER EQUALITY

In our commitment to create an inclusive work environment, Kulim has rolled out various initiatives to empower women in the workplace.As at 31 December 2018, we had 810 women on our payroll, which constituted 11.52% of our workforce. Of this number, 1.59% were at the management level. Despite the inherent challenges, our policy of non-discrimination against women also extends to our estate workers.


SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Efforts are on-going to educate and remind employees of what constitutes inappropriate behaviors. Through a concerted campaign,women are also more aware of their rights and as a result, have become more open to reporting cases of sexual harassment. In 2018, no cases of sexual harassment was reported. 


MATERNITY LEAVE

All our female employees are entitled to 60 consecutive days of paid maternity leave in accordance with the Malaysia Employment Act 1955 Part IX Maternity Protection. In 2018, 23 employees went on maternity leave and upon returning to work, continued to remain employed with the Company. We are proud of the 100% retention rate as employment patterns suggest that women with newborn babies are most likely to leave their jobs after one (1) year. As a matter of policy, utmost care is taken to ensure that pregnant or nursing female workers are not exposed to harmful chemicals in discharging their duties.


OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH (“OSH”)

The International Labour Organisation (“ILO”) explicitly states that every employee has the right to work in a safe and healthy environment. This basic human right is enshrined in various laws enforced by the Department of Occupational Safety and Health in Malaysia.


Kulim has an OSH record that sets us apart from its industry peers.We have made it our mission to manage OSH effectively through the implementation of efficient oversight and regulatory actions. This is strictly enforced at all our mills and estates, where a dedicated OSH Officer ensures the effective implementation of the Group’s OSH system. Apart from organising safety training programmes, conducting tool-box briefings and OSH quarterly briefings, the Officer’s responsibilities include investigating and reporting all accidents to the OSH Manager. All incidents are transparently reported and throughly invested so that important lessons can be learnt to prevent or at least, reduce their recurrence. 


However, one (1) person alone cannot effectively carry the safety message or handle the multitude of tasks that crop up each day. We have therefore made OSH every employee’s responsibility, whereby managers and staff work closely together to build an effective safety and health programme. People are the most important factor in significantly improving OSH performance. This is why it is mandatory for each of our workers to undergo an average of 40 hours or five (5) man days of safety training in a year. Among others,the training emphasizes on the handling, application and safe disposal of chemicals. In addition, our tractor, lorry and mechanical buffalo operators have to complete 16 hours or two (2) mandays of training under supervision, whereby they must pass the required practical examinations to qualify as a certified driver before they are allowed to operate the machines on their own.