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Eight Year Struggle for Ansell Workers

Unions in Victoria stand with union leaders and workers in Sri Lanka who were sacked by the Melbourne-based multinational company Ansell in 2013. Sacked Ansell union leaders and a coalition of unions rallied in Sri Lanka yesterday, demanding reinstatement and compensation for the workers and that Ansell recognise their union.

Ansell is one of the world’s biggest companies supplying medical gloves and other personal protective equipment. Ansell’s profit jumped by nearly 50% last year to more than $280 million. Ansell’s CEO was paid more than $9 million. 

Unions in Australia and around the world rallied to support Ansell workers during the original dispute, and are again standing in solidarity with these workers.

Ansell’s profit jumped by nearly 50% last year to more than $280 million. Ansell’s CEO was paid more than $9 million.

“Say no to dirty Ansell gloves”

“Say no to dirty Ansell gloves”

In light of the these developments (and indeed, lack thereof) Victorian unions (including Victorian Trades Hall Council, the ANMF, ETU, VAHPA, RTBU, and AMIEU) have penned an open letter to Ansell management.

It states:

“Many of us rallied to support these workers after Ansell sacked them during an industrial dispute over labour hire, speedups, many OHS issues, and union rights in 2013. We believed the dispute was resolved in 2016. 

However, the terms of the 2016 settlement have never been properly implemented by Ansell. The company is still failing to reinstate or compensate some workers – including the 11 leaders of the Ansell factory branch of the Free Trade Zones & General Services Employees Union. 

Recently there has been extensive coverage of debt bondage, forced labour, and shocking conditions in company-provided accommodation in Ansell’s contractor factories in Malaysia. The US has recently banned imports from Top Glove, a major Malaysian supplier to Ansell, over the company’s failure to address labour violations. Top Glove is also being prosecuted by the Malaysian government over its company-provided housing. But Ansell is still buying from Top Glove. 

Unions are vital to protect workers’ rights. If Ansell wants to demonstrate that its much-proclaimed commitment to freedom of association is genuine, the company must immediately reinstate and compensate all of the workers sacked by the company during the 2013 industrial dispute in Sri Lanka, including the 11 sacked union leaders - and recognise their union. 

We will make our concerns clear to governments, institutions, pension funds and purchasing agents, and we will stand together with the workers protesting for their rights in PPE factories everywhere.”

We say to Ansell: 

  1. Stop hiding behind endless court cases: Reinstate and pay compensation to the dismissed workers in Sri Lanka 

  2. Stop hiding behind enquiries: Provide full rights to all workers in the contractor factories in Malaysia 

  3. Stop union busting: Recognise the genuine unions in PPE factories 

  4. Stop hiding the real working conditions: Allow right of entry for union organisers in PPE factories 

  5. Stop hiding behind brands: Companies that profit from PPE are responsible for the conditions in PPE factories

You can read more about the struggle of these workers against Ansell here.



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