KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 28 (Reuters) - Ansell Ltd ANN.AX has halted its orders to North America from Malaysian glove maker Brightway Group after U.S. Customs banned the Malaysian group's products following allegations of forced labour practices, Ansell said.
Australia's Ansell, a protection and safety products manufacturer, told Reuters in an email it has suspended the North America orders, as a result of a ban imposed on Dec. 20. by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), until Brightway has resolved the labour issues.
Malaysian news portal Free Malaysia Today first reported the halt and said U.S.-based personal care products maker Kimberly-Clark Corp KMB.N has also acted to ensure compliance with the CBP's ban.
Kimberly-Clark did not say what action it took but told Reuters it "will continue to monitor Brightway's progress to help ensure they enact meaningful and sustained change for the betterment of their workers."
Brightway did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.
CBP said it identified indicators of forced labour during its investigation into Brightway, which is the seventh Malaysian company to face a ban in the last two years.
"At this stage, we are not aware of the specific evidence U.S. CBP has of labour rights violations at Brightway and we have not extended this suspension outside Northern America," Ansell said.
Ansell said, however, it was aware of non-compliance at the Brightway facilities through its third-party audits and continues to work closely with the glove maker on remediation plans.
Ansell preferred to work with suppliers to ensure continued employment and improved conditions for workers, "than reactively cancelling supplier contracts in response to specific events or allegations," the company said.It said it will closely monitor the situation - MONITOR THE SITUATION???