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Article

14 Sep 2020

New Zealand supplier Ebos pulls Top Glove products over forced labour links

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14 September 2020

Ebos, the largest medical and personal protective equipment supplier to the healthcare market in New Zealand, has stopped importing a brand of disposable gloves, after Newsroom highlighted links with Top Glove, a huge Malaysian glove producer accused of using forced migrant labour

Following a Newsroom story and podcast into accusations against glove manufacturer Top Glove, international watchdog the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre contacted New Zealand PPE supplier Ebos - and another PPE importer, Protec Solutions - asking them to investigate their supply chains.

[...]

“Following Nikki’s piece we engaged directly with both Protec Solutions and Ebos, drawing their attention to allegations of linkage to slave-like conditions in Top Glove’s Malaysian factories and inviting a response,” says Amy Sinclair, regional representative for the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre.

“We did not receive a response from Protec, but Ebos took action, had discussions with Ansell and undertook to cease ordering the product line in question - Ansell MicroThin Nitrile glove, manufactured by Top Glove.”

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Protec managing director Robert Wong did not want to comment on the allegations of forced labour from his Malaysian supplier.

“We are a small company, they are a large manufacturer. That’s all I’m prepared to say,” he told Newsroom.

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Sinclair says the more pressure goes on Top Glove and other Malaysian glove suppliers accused of forced labour and slavery-like conditions, the more likely they are to treat workers well. [...]

“Growing pressure from suppliers, together with recent action under the US Tariff Act will, we hope, bring additional pressure to bear on Top Glove to improve conditions for its workers,” Sinclair says.

[...]