Glove factory Siam Sempermed suspected of labour rights violations
Photo: Annina Mannila
Siam Sempermed is co-owned by Semperit (Austria) alongside Sri Trang Group (Thailand) and produces rubber and nitrile gloves for distribution and sales on global markets.
According to worker interviews conducted by Finnwatch recently, Siam Sempermed factory is not paying legally mandated minimum wages to workers in the factory's glove packing department and is forcing workers to work excessive amounts of overtime. Workers receive no pay slips and are not aware of work terms. Workers also report that annual and national holidays are often prohibited.
– Interviewed workers were exhausted and in desperate need of a holiday and shorter working days, says Finnwatch's Executive Director Sonja Vartiala.
Austrian based company Semperit is one of the world’s leading hospital glove manufacturers. Semperit’s gloves are used all over the world and also importantly in Finnish hospitals where they have been purchased using Finnish tax payers money.
– According to the workers, they are packing gloves for up to 13 hours per day with only 30 minutes break and are facing numerous deductions from their salaries. This is unacceptable, says Vartiala.
Finnwatch’s research affords particularly harsh criticism to Semperit's corporate social responsibility practices. According to Finnwatch, Siam Sempermed factory's appeals or complaint mechanisms and responsibility monitoring systems are lacking in quality.
– Finnwatch informed Siam Sempermed's European owner Semperit about these labour rights violations already in December 2013, but the company turned a deaf ear to this whistle blowing.
Instead of addressing the situation of labour rights violations, Semperit has continued to deny all accusations and said that the company has never heard of any problems in its Thai factory.
Semperit has been BSCI-audited in March 2013. According to Semperit, “..external audits have underlined the proper manner in which we deal with our employees as well as our compliance with all prevailing labour regulations in Thailand.”
In its statement to Finnwatch, the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) however has said clearly that “This [Semperit] statement does not reflect the findings gathered through the BSCI audits and therefore puts the credibility of BSCI in question.” BSCI further stated that it will take action regarding Semperit if the company does not correct its prior statement to Finnwatch.
– BSCI's response has raised serious concerns that Semperit is not telling the whole truth, says Vartiala.
Finnwatch continues to urge Siam Sempermed to address labour rights issues in the packing department of its Songkhla based factory without further delay and also compensate all workers fully and retrospectively for previously unpaid overtime work.
Executive Director of Finnwatch
+ 358 44 568 7465
sonja.vartiala (a) finnwatch.org
Download Finnwatch report Caring for hands, not workers (pdf) >>
Download unofficial Thai version of the report (pdf) >>
Statement from Semperit's distributor in Finland, One Med oy (pdf) >>
Tämä teos, jonka tekijä on Finnwatch, on lisensoitu Creative Commons Nimeä-EiKaupallinen-EiMuutoksia 4.0 Kansainvälinen -lisenssillä.