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31 Aug 2023

Thailand: Rubber glove giant Ansell accused of "abandoning" workers from Myanmar & underpaying termination compensation

In August 2023, the Resource Centre invited Ansell to respond to a Sydney Morning Herald report that its factory in Thailand has put migrant workers from Myanmar at risk of forced labour and human trafficking by "severely underpaying" their compensation after abrupt termination. Workers have said it is unsafe for them to return to Myanmar due to the military takeover, but management reportedly told workers they would only receive severance packages on return and subjected them to threatening behaviour.

In some cases workers had worked in the factory for a decade, but had until only last year been outsourced workers employed by a subcontractor. A Thai lawyer told The Sydney Morning Herald the workers were in effect employees of Ansell, regardless, and therefore should be compensated for the full time they had worked at the factory.

In their response, the Resource Centre invited Ansell to outline what steps have been taken to ensure terminated workers are able to access full owed dues and benefits, and what support they are being offered to remain in employment and in Thailand. Ansell's response can be read in full below; in the statement Ansell states "at no time was it ever Ansell's intention to withhold severance payments until the workers returned to Myanmar" and said that severance payments were made to correspond to the length of time workers were directly employed by Ansell, in line with Thai labour law.