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Exclusive: ‘Slave workers left without basic hygiene’

Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti
13 June 2018 1 minute readShare
Slave, business, ball and chain, worker

An Australian business has been accused of treating its overseas workers like “slaves” with no toilet paper or soap provided, but the company’s owner hit back, suggesting the allegations are from a disgruntled former worker or a competitor trying to damage them.

Elegant Media CEO Anushka Bandara recently suggested that wallets will soon be a thing of the past, with his development firm working with some of the world’s biggest brands to boost the buying power of mobile apps.

However several days after the article was published, My Business received a comment from a reader levelling serious allegations of impropriety against Elegant Media.

The anonymous comment, written in somewhat broken English, suggested that employees in the Sri Lankan office are effectively “slaves”, lacking in basic essentials such as toilet paper and soap.

“The real development firm is located in Sri Lanka and treat[s] employees like slaves with very low wages and inside the office there are no water, toilet papers,” it said.

“Even the freaking [bidet] shower is broken … no coffee [sic] or milk tea because too stingy to buy milk. When [it] rains water flows inside the office the laptops are broken and very slow. No handwash [so] employees wash their hands using dishwashing powder.”

Despite the Elegant Media website claiming the business is based in Melbourne and describing its staff as “one of the most experienced teams in Australia”, a spokesperson confirmed that it does have an office in Mr Bandara’s native Sri Lanka.

However, they disputed that these employees were treated poorly and suggested that the accusations are an attempt by a third-party to damage the business and its market reputation.

“The branch in Sri Lanka is highly regarded and well managed,” the spokesperson told My Business.

“Coding requires a high level of expertise. There have been a few occasions over the years where [Elegant Media has] had to let a few people go because of issues with proficiency, so it is possible that the comments have come from a disgruntled ex-staff member or competitors.”

Exclusive: ‘Slave workers left without basic hygiene’
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Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti is the former editor of MyBusiness and a senior freelance media professional, specialising in the fields of business, personal finance and property. In 2020, he also embarked on his own business journey – inspired in part by the entrepreneurs and founders he had met through his journalistic work – with the launch of customised pet gifting and subscription service Paws N’ All.

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