Condom manufacturer, Ansell, faces protests in Australia over its sacking of striking workers in Sri Lanka
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Author: Nick Toscano, The Age (Australia)
Australian condom company Ansell is embroiled in a bitter workplace feud over the sacking of almost 300 workers from one of its factories in Sri Lanka...An Ansell spokesman said the dispute began after the company sacked 11 workers in 2013 for misconduct including coercing colleagues to join industrial action and attempting to sabotage and undermine the business. Employees had gone on strike for more than 45 days, the spokesman said, before Ansell ordered them back to work and warned of the consequences of failing to comply. "While 261 employees returned to work, 289 of our workers remained absent and are no longer considered employees of Ansell," he said. Ansell says the company's actions have been upheld by Sri Lanka's labour tribunal, which had ruled the strikes unlawful. "All disciplinary action taken by the company against the affected employees or other workers at the facility was has been done in accordance with local law, accepted labour standards and Ansell's own code of conduct," the spokesman said. "We have and will continue to maintain the utmost professionalism as this issue is resolved, regardless of any threat or misinformation campaign conducted by a few disgruntled individuals and misinformed organisations."
Unionists from the textile, manufacturing and construction sectors in Australia descended on the Melbourne-headquarters of condom and glove manufacturer Ansell today to demand better treatment of workers in Sri Lanka. Ansell is fighting a war of attrition against 300 poor and mainly female Sri Lankan workers who they sacked for going on strike at one of its factories... Anton Marcus from IndustriALL Global Union affiliate, the Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union...[said] “These women have very little, so when this Australian company cuts their pay, while raising production quotas, they tried to exercise their right to collectively negotiate through the local union,” Mr Marcus said...Ansell workers who were sacked were paid less than 80c per hour to work in conditions so bad that they are forced to relieve themselves at their workstations because they otherwise won’t meet impossible production targets. The sacked Ansell workers in Sri Lanka were forced to work every day of the week including weekends without overtime payments.