Nearly 1,000 workers at Ansell Lanka Pvt. Ltd. in Sri Lanka have been on strike since 11 October after long-standing problem against their fundamental rights.
The dispute between IndustriALL Global Union’s Sri Lankan affiliate the Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union (FTZGSEU) and Ansell Lanka, one of the leading producers of latex rubber goods worldwide, is only the latest in the long history of a company that has fled its native Australia to exploit vulnerable workers in developing countries.
The most recent provocations began when the company management unilaterally decided to increase production targets and the use of contract workers. Around the same time one of the branch union leaders was harassed by physical threats, and a number of charges related to his union activities, being brought against him. He was then suspended from work.
In a response to this flagrant violation, the workers at Ansell have gone on strike on 11 October. After FTZGSEU's complaint to the Commissioner of Labour, Ansell was asked to withdraw the suspension. However, a few days later the company responded by terminating the branch union’s employment. Ansell has since taken steps to fire further leading union officers.
IndustriALL Global Union continues to its campaign together with FTZGSEU. Over the last attack, Ansell management has received a protest letter from IndustriALL over its continuous anti-union behavior. Ansell is also reported to be in same kind of anti-union actions in Malaysia.
"This is not the sort of behaviour that we expect of a company that claims to respect high standards of corporate social responsibility” said Kemal Özkan, IndustriALL Global Union’s Assistant General Secretary. “We will hardly continue to campaign against Ansell until a fair solution is found.”