Scottish TUC Carries Motion to Support Bhopal Cause

STUC at 30th

Scott Donohoe, chair of the Health and Safety committee for Unison, giving a ceremonial ‘Quaich’ to Champa Devi Shukla, of the Chingari trust, with Robert Mooney looking on.

 Following on from from the Scottish Trade Union delegation’s visit to Bhopal for the 30th anniversary of the 1984 Gas Disaster CLICK HERE a motion has now been passed, at the 118th Annual STUC Congress, designed to further develop links with the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, the Bhopal Medical Appeal and Scottish Friends of Bhopal.

“Congress resolves to:
Continue and further develop links with the BMA, ICJB and SFoB;
Exert pressure on UK, Indian and US governments to take action to bring Dow Chemical to accept responsibility for the disaster…
Encourage trade union branches and individual trade union members to support the Bhopal Medical Appeal in its work to provide health and rehabilitation care in Bhopal.”
 
“Congress calls upon the STUC General Council to:
Write to the representative of Dow in the UK to express the concerns of Congress at the company’s continuing denial and avoidance of accountability for the actions of Union Carbide;
Exert pressure… including seeking a meeting with the Indian Consul General in Scotland, the Scottish Minister responsible for International Development, and relevant spokespeople from parties represented in the Scottish Parliament, to support the demands of the survivors’ movement… Continue and further develop links with the BMA, ICJB and SFoB and write to affiliated trade unions to draw attention to STUC’s support for these organisations; Encourage trade union branches and individual trade union members to support the work to provide health and rehabilitation care in BhopalConvene a conference / workshop, in partnership with Scottish Friends of Bhopal, of affiliated trade unions and relevant religious and third sector organisation, during this anniversary year, to discuss practical issues of solidarity such as those listed in this motion.”

The motion was moved by Robert Mooney on behalf of the Annual STUC Disabled Workers’ Conference. Robert was one of the delegates who travelled to Bhopal in December and was surely moved by his experience.

It was seconded by Terry Brotherstone of Edinburgh Trades Union Council who said: “In this anniversary year, the Bhopal disaster had, quite rightly and very movingly, been much discussed at Congress. Any delegates who sought further information would do well to consult what is one of wikipedia’s better entries. And Edinburgh Trades Union Council would gladly help to organise meetings at which members of the trade-union delegation which attended the December 2014 commemorations in Bhopal would speak.”

He concluded by drawing particular attention to the final bullet point in the motion which called on the General Council to organise a solidarity conference to discuss practical actions. This, he suggested, could also be an occasion to go more deeply in to the root causes of this appalling, and ongoing, disaster – and others that had been referred such as the 1988 Piper Alpha tragedy in the North Sea – which, he said, “lay in the nature of capitalism and the structural crisis of the capital system as a whole. Solidarity was an essential starting-point but we also need to find ways of re-engaging with the aspirations which had been so tragically betrayed in the twentieth century for the development of working-class internationalism and realising the struggle for socialism – the failure to achieve which, as Rosa Luxemburg said over 100 years ago, could only mean barbarism. Given the depth of the global social and environmental crisis today, he added, barbarism  would be the best that could be expected.”

Terry Britherstone Addresses Congress

Terry Brotherstone Addresses Congress

Our thanks go to Robert and Terry along with all those supporting this important motion at congress.

Earlier, in October 2014, the Blackworkers’ conference of Scottish TUC passed its own motion in support of Bhopal struggles CLICK HERE agreeing to send a message of solidarity to the 30th Anniversary events December events, as well as encouraging all affiliates to support the Bhopal Medical Appeal.

Scottish TUC delegates march with survivors of the Bhopal Disaster at the 30th anniversary commemorative events in December 2014

Scottish TUC delegates march with survivors of the Bhopal Disaster at the 30th anniversary commemorative events in December 2014

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We believe Dow & DuPont must finally accept responsibility for Bhopal. Until then, The Bhopal Medical Appeal funds two award-winning clinics in the city. Both offer free, first-class care to victims of the gas disaster or the ongoing water contamination. The survivors have nowhere else left to turn – please help if you can.