Australia urged to follow US, ban shipments of rubber gloves over forced labour concerns
14 October 2019
Australia is being urged to follow the Trump administration's lead in blocking shipments of rubber gloves sold by manufacturer Ansell, after one of its suppliers, WRP Asia Pacific, had its products detained by US customs over allegations of forced labour.
An Ansell spokesman said the company was informed that WRP was issued a ban by the US based on concerns WRP's products are produced, in whole or in part, using forced labour.
"Ansell takes the labour practices of these third-party suppliers seriously, and any allegations of forced labour among the company's suppliers are of the highest concern," the spokesman told ABC News.
He said Ansell requires that all suppliers comply with its Supplier Code of Conduct, which prohibits suppliers from using child, forced or involuntary labour of any kind.
"However, due to various reasons, including WRP's limited progress in correcting audit issues, Ansell has been progressively reducing its purchases from WRP," he said.
He said the company would continue to audit outsourced manufacturers in its supply chain to ensure that the rights and safety of workers is protected.
In March Ansell chairman Glenn Barnes said the company was investigating whether its other main supplier, Top Glove, was abusing worker rights and would dump any supplier it found was exploiting workers.
It is due to report on the results of that review at its annual general meeting in November, but Ansell's spokesman told ABC News that in relation to Top Glove, Ansell was "pleased that measurable progress is being made".
But migrant workers' rights researcher and human rights activist Andy Hall said...Ansell should not have severed ties with WRP, but instead used its influence to ensure compliance with Australia's modern slavery laws and global guidelines that aim to protect worker rights.