Picture: Annina Mannila


Finnwatch's follow-up report tells about the continuing abuse of labour rights at Siam Sempermed medical glove factory in Thailand. Several hospital districts across Finland use gloves made at Siam Sempermed.

The report, which is based on interviews with workers, tells that the factory keeps workers' travel documents, sets mandatory production targets, and deducts large documentation fees from the salaries of the migrant workers.

– Some of the migrant workers have found the conditions at the factory so unsatisfactory that they have fled without their personal documents, says Sonja Vartiala, Executive Director of Finnwatch.

Some previously reported problems at the factory have been fixed: workers are now given pay slips and employment contracts in their own language, it's easier to obtain sick leave, and according to the workers, the factory no longer dismisses workers illegally. Finnwatch has been monitoring the working conditions at Siam Sempermed since 2013.

– OneMed, which markets gloves made at Siam Sempermed in Finland, has actively audited the factory and demanded action from the factory's Austrian co-owner. Audits have however, not reached the root causes of the problems. It's now time to increase dialogue directly between the Thai factory, the buyers and civil society organisations, Vartiala notes.

Finnwatch's report also tells about problems in the production in Malaysia of Ansell medical gloves, which are marketed by Berner Medical. A Malaysian factory, which produces gloves for the public sector, confiscates passports of its workers, forces its workers to work overtime, and restricts the movement of its workers. The information on Ansell is based on an audit commissioned by the Swedish public procurement bodies.

Finnwatch reminds, that socially responsible public procurement is still in its infancy in Finland.

Finnwatch's follow-up report tells about the continuing abuse of labour rights at Siam Sempermed medical glove factory in Thailand. Several hospital districts across Finland use gloves made at Siam Sempermed.

The report, which is based on interviews with workers, tells that the factory keeps workers' travel document, sets mandatory production targets, and deducts large documentation fees from the salaries of the migrant workers.

– Some of the migrant workers have found the conditions at the factory so unsatisfactory that they have fled without their personal documents, says Sonja Vartiala, Executive Director of Finnwatch.

Some previously reported problems at the factory have been fixed: workers are now given pay slips and employment contracts in their own language, it's easier to obtain sick leave, and according to the workers, the factory no longer dismisses workers illegally. Finnwatch has been monitoring the working conditions at Siam Sempermed since 2013.

– OneMed, which markets gloves made at Siam Sempermed in Finland, has actively audited the factory and demanded action from the factory's Austrian co-owner. Audits have however, not reached the root causes of the problems. It's now time to increase dialogue directly between the Thai factory, the buyers and civil society organisations, Vartiala notes.

Finnwatch's report also tells about problems in the production in Malaysia of Ansell medical gloves, which are marketed by Berner Medical. A Malaysian factory, which produces gloves for the public sector, confiscates passports of its workers, forces its workers to work overtime, and restricts the movement of its workers. The information on Ansell is based on an audit commissioned by the Swedish public procurement bodies.

Finnwatch reminds, that socially responsible public procurement is still in its infancy in Finland.

– We should pay much more attention in to the sustainability of public procurement decisions in Finland. In Finland we like to make consumers feel guilty over the sustainability of various products and at the same time we forget about the sustainability of purchases made with billions of tax payer money.

Discussion about the sustainability of public procurement is particularly timely this autumn as the Finnish parliament will be considering a complete overhaul to the procurement legislation.

– Finland must make the social clause in the EU public procurement directives binding so that in the future, human rights are taken into account when making public procurement decisions. This would also increase the competitiveness of Finnish production companies, reminds Vartiala.


Finnwatch's follow-⁠up report (pdf) is available to download here >>

Finnwatch's 2014 report 'Caring for hands, not workers' is available to download here >>


For more information please contact

Sonja Vartiala
sonja.vartiala (a) finnwatch.org
+358 44 568 7465

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