News & Updates
Both news media and general public can find important information
about updates, alerts and events that impact human rights in Sri Lanka

FTZ & GSEU writes to US, Aussie diplomats

2013 Nov 05

By Lal Gunesekera

The Secretary of the Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union (FTZ & GSEU) Anton Marcus has written to both the US Ambassador Michele J. Sison and Australian High Commission Robyn Mudie drawing their attention for an urgent humanitarian and special intervention to the conflict raging at Ansell Lanka (Pvt) Limited.

Marcus told The Island Financial Review that the US and Australian diplomats in Sri Lanka have been requested to intervene in bringing justice and fair play for workers at Ansell located in the Biyagama EPZ and a subsidiary of Ansell Limited and Ansell Healthcare LLC both corporates in Australia and USA respectively. The FTZ & GSEU, Marcus said that Australian investments overseas are bound by guidelines set by the Overseas Economic Cooperation for Development (OECD) and its right to intervene by the Australian High Commissioner.

He also said that workers in most Ansell Ltd subsidiaries allege that the corporate bosses allow their local management to strike hard against trade unions with workers alleged to have been severely ill treated at Ansell Shah Alam SDN BHD in Selengor, Malaysia and now at Ansell Lanka Pvt Ltd.

The FTZ & GSELL makes a long list of intimidations and unfair labour practice incidents that could be quoted against Ansell Lanka Pvt Ltd. The union places four serious incidents and numerous others before the US Ambassador and Australian High Commissioner in support of their appeal for intervention, starting from 2011 to October 16, 2013.

The veteran trade unionist said that the Commissioner General of Labour (CGL) called for an urgent discussion on October 17 with Ansell Lanka Management represented by their lawyer who refused any form of compromise and settlement. Two further discussions were called by the CGL seeking an amicable settlement which the CGL proposed that the summary termination of 11 employees be re-framed by the management as "suspension of work" and the trade union thereafter call off the strike and get back to work, while the management initiates due procedures of inquiry after serving charge sheets to the 11 workers concerned.

Marcus said that they (FTZ & GSEU) agreed to positively consider this proposal at their branch union meetings, expecting the Ansell Lanka management would consider this proposal as a way out. Ansell Management had informed the CGL that they are not prepared to accept any such formula as advised by their corporate bosses in international headquarters.

He said that the FTZ & GSEU strongly feel this situation if allowed would encourage other such managements to resort to high handed, law braking, anti worker methods to maximize profits at the expense of helpless and heavily exploited workers, contravening OECD guidelines and principals.

Marcus further said that it was in these circumstances that they request the immediate intervention in ensuring that all labour laws, BOI guidelines and policy statement and ILO conventions that Sri Lanka are signatory to, and the OECD guidelines that Australian/US investments are bound by, honoured with and none allowed to violate any.

Search News & Updates