Unions Fighting Chemical Companies for Justice

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Photo: Giles Clarke, Getty Images Reportage

In 2014, on the 30th anniversary of the world’s most deadly industrial disaster, a trade union delegation from Scotland and Wales visited Bhopal and met with survivors of the disaster who are still struggling for justice. The following year, Trade Union Friends of Bhopal was established by activists and delegates of the trip, along with Scottish Friends of Bhopal, and it is now administered by the Bhopal Medical Appeal.

Trade Union Friends of Bhopal (Bhopal Saathi) was set up to ensure continued solidarity work by British trades unions with survivors of the Bhopal Disaster alongside other victims of toxic industry, corporate crime and occupational and environmental hazards. Saathi is a Hindi word meaning ‘friend’ or ‘comrade’ and reflects a relationship of solidarity and commitment.

On January 22, 2016, Union Solidarity International published an article by Laurie Flynn, Chair of Trustees for the Bhopal Medical Appeal entitled: ‘Unions need to continue the fight for justice at Bhopal’.

‘Our children were babes in arms when I left for Bhopal in January 1985, four weeks after the world’s worst, single-incident industrial “accident” to make a World in Action documentary called “The Betrayal of Bhopal”. And today 31 years later, thanks to a decent diet, good housing, free education, the National Health Service and all the love and effort that we were able to put into them, they are healthy human beings, with hungry minds and strong bodies, kind hearts and compassion.

The children of Bhopal have not been so lucky.

Because of choices made by an American multinational which wanted to lie its way out of its responsibilities and which used its immense financial resources to engage in a lengthy jurisdictional dispute.

And because of an Indian government which reached an inexplicably poor “full and final settlement” that is neither full nor final nor fair, the Betrayal of Bhopal has continued for another three decades.

Three decades so far.

Local people of courage and integrity have fought for justice throughout those long years . And they have been joined by unforgettable people in their thousands around the world who refuse to wipe memories of injustice and disaster from their minds and who give generously of their time and money to help the poisoned and the poor of Bhopal.’

To read the rest of this article, which goes on to discuss the impending merger between Dow Chemical and DuPont, please visit Union Solidarity International


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