Ansell targeted for union busting

Protesters highlighted Ansell's union busting in Sri Lanka. Photo: Sue Bolton

Australian condom and rubber glove maker Ansell is engaged in some aggressive union busting in Sri Lanka. It has sacked about 300 poor mainly women workers who are fighting for the right to strike in one of Sri Lanka's so called Free Trade Zones.

Workers gathered outside Ansell’s Melbourne headquarters on August 25 to demand Ansell reinstate the sacked workers and recognise workers' right to organise.

Sri Lankan unionist Anton Marcus, who addressed the rally in defence of the sacked workers, said the workers had wanted nothing more than the right to negotiate through their union.

“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,” he said.

“The company made almost US$200 million in profits last year, but it wanted to take a few cents an hour off these poor women.”

Secretary of the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union Michele O'Neil said Australians needed to know the truth about Ansell's treatment of workers. She said the protest was the start of a nationwide campaign against the global latex manufacturer and urged customers to think twice before buying Ansell products.