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10 Aug 2022

Chris Barrett, The Sydney Morning Herald

Ansell accused of ‘knowingly profiting’ from forced labour at Malaysian glove supplier

10 August 2022

Ansell is being sued in a US court by a group of former migrant workers in Malaysia who claim the Australian personal protective equipment giant “knowingly profited” from alleged forced labour in the disposable glove manufacturing industry.

The 13 Bangladeshi workers say they were trafficked to Malaysia and made to live and work in shocking conditions at single-use glove producer Brightway Holdings, a supplier to Ansell.

They have filed a lawsuit against the ASX-listed company and US firm Kimberly-Clark Corporation (KCC) in the US Federal District Court for the District of Columbia in which they are seeking damages and to represent thousands of other workers in a class action.


In their lawsuit against Ansell, the Bangladeshi migrant workers complained of atrocious conditions at Brightway, saying they were forced to work for more than 12 hours a day, often with restricted access to food, water and restrooms, had their passports seized and were physically and verbally abused.

They said they had been coerced into paying high recruitment fees, received delayed or incomplete wages and had to live in overcrowded and unclean accommodation with restrictions on when they could leave. They were forced to sleep in a single room with as many as 70 other workers and some did not even have a bed or pillow of their own.

Several were also threatened by management at Brightway for taking issue with the conditions they had to endure, according to the lawsuit.


[...] Ansell said the claim had no merit.

“Ansell condemns all human rights violations, including the use of forced labour and is committed to actively identifying and addressing violations of labour rights within our supply chain,” the Australian company said in a statement.


Part of the following timelines

Malaysia: Medical & rubber glove manufacturers accused of subjecting migrant workers to forced labour & withholding wages

Malaysia: Medical & rubber glove manufacturers accused of subjecting migrant workers to forced labour & withholding wages

Malaysia: Hundreds of migrant workers subject to "squalid" onsite living conditions at glove manufacturers owned by Brightway Holdings; Incl. buyer responses