Sri Lanka - Ansell Lanka is engaging in union busting

Ansell Lanka Pvt. Located in the Biyagama Export Promotion Zone (BEPZ) refuses to recognise the Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union as a bargaining agent. Trade unionists face anti-union discrimination by management since early 2013. On 22 March 2013, management deducted half a day’s wage of workers who had complained about the fact that they were not provided with meals. On 10 April 2013, the union branch president Athula Kamal was attacked by two unknown motorcycle riders in Kiribathgoda. Six months later, on 10 October 2013, management suspended Athula Kamal for having complained to police about the assault. Workers protested against this decision by going on strike 14 October 2013, the Assistant Commissioner of Labour of Colombo Central mediated a meeting between the two parties and asked management to reinstate Athula Kamal. However, management decided to dismiss him and ten union leaders and two union members who had gone on strike. When management refused to attend mediation meetings, the Labour Ministry called for compulsory arbitration on 29 November 2013. Workers were obliged to return to work, however Ansell Lanka refused to allow them to report back to work. Instead workers were asked to apply for employment.

On 2 May 2013, Ansell Lanka dismissed 2 committee members of the branch union and another active union member without giving them the opportunity to respond to the disciplinary charges which had been laid against them. A female committee member was also suspended from work on 9 April 2013. On 29 May 2013, workers were coerced to sign a letter of consent accepting an increased production target without being able to consult with the union. After protests and a written complaint to the Minister of Labour, management finally permitted inspectors to the company on 16 July 2013.

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