By Pervez Bari,
Bhopal: A delegation of Scottish Trade Union activists addressed a rally today in Bhopal support of the survivors’ 30 years of campaigns for justice. The delegation is in response to a visit by survivors to Scotland and a motion of solidarity from the Scottish Trade Union Congress disabled workers’ conference.
Scottish Trade Unions expressing solidarity with Bhopal gas tragedy victims by taking part in torch-light rally on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the disaster
Later in the evening Scottish Trade Unions and other national trade unions expressing solidarity with Bhopal gas tragedy victims took part in the torch-light rally taken out by the survivors of the Bhopal gas tragedy, world’s worst industrial disaster, on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the disaster. The survivors took out the rally to express their ire against successive governments for not attending to their woes effectively in the last three decades to relieve them from life-wrenching diseases.
Kathy Jenkins from the Scottish Hazards Campaign said: “We are here because Bhopal remains the worst industrial disaster of our time, but even more because the commitment, strength and endurance of the people of Bhopal provide inspiration to all of us to continue our struggles for safe workplaces and clean environments in Scotland and throughout the world.”
“Trade unions raised concerns about safety years before the disaster happened and have also played a central role in the survivors’ struggle for justice. After the disaster, Union Carbide blamed the disaster on the workers. As trade unionists we are used to employers blaming the workers when they are cutting corners”, Kathy added.
Eurig Scandrett from University and College Union said: “We bring messages of solidarity with the survivors and their demands from the cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling and Falkirk and from Leicester and District Trade Union Committee. There are community events occurring in Edinburgh and Glasgow, Durham, Avonmouth and London and many other places. The people of Scotland
and across the UK will not forget Bhopal and will continue to offer our solidarity.”
Meanwhile, the Scottish Trade Union expressing solidarity with Bhopal in a statement said: “We are a Scottish Trade Union delegation who have come to Bhopal to join the people of Bhopal in marking the 30th year of your campaigns for justice, clean water and good health care. Our being here has grown from a history of Scottish people working in Bhopal and raising funds to support clinics and campaigns, and Bhopal survivors visiting Scotland on a number of occasions. It started with expressions of solidarity from Scottish Trade Union Congress disabled worker and black worker representatives. Scottish trade unions have a long history of international solidarity”.
“We are here because Bhopal remains the worst industrial disaster of our time, but even more because the commitment, strength and endurance of the people of Bhopal provide inspiration to all of us to continue our struggles for safe workplaces and clean environments in Scotland and throughout the world. Between the 10 delegates, we represent 6 unions: Community, Communication Workers Union, University Colleges, National union of Journalists, Unison (Public Sector), Unite. We also represent: Bhopal Medical Appeal, Edinburgh Trade Union Council, European Work Hazards Network, Scottish Friends of Bhopal, Scottish Trade Union Congress, Scottish Hazards Campaign”, the statement said.
This delegation is being supported by a motion in the Scottish Parliament in which our politicians are being invited to sign up to express their support for the people of Bhopal. The motion expresses solidarity and most importantly it also names the culprit – Dow – which is the successor to Union Carbide and liable for the disaster and must face justice.
National Trade Unions also express solidarity with gas victims
Meanwhile, national trade unions All India Central Council of Trade Unions, (AICCTU); Indian Federation of Trade Unions, (IFTU); New Trade Union Initiative,(NTUI) and TUCI represented by Swapan Mukherjee, B. Pradeep, Gautam Mody and Sanjay Singhvi respectively expressing their solidarity with the Bhopal gas victims in a joint statement said: “We come together to join in solidarity will all organisations in their continuing struggle for justice and dignity and to hold Dow Chemical accountable and demanding that the Government of India:
- Constitute a Special Commission on Bhopal that includes survivors’ representatives and which has the necessary funds and legal authority to address issues of Medical Care, Research, and Monitoring; Social and Economic Rehabilitation of the affected; Environmental Remediation; and Safe Drinking Water.
- Undertake punitive action against Dow Chemical to ensure accountability, liability and responsibility for: • Cleaning up abandoned plant site at Bhopal; • Immediate payment of interim additional compensation according to international standards to all affected persons as per official records.
- Pursue the Curative Petition before the Supreme Court with diligence in consonance with the justifiable demands for compensation made by the organisations of the affected people and ensure from its side that there are no further delays in brining the petition to its conclusion
- Withdraw amendments to the numerical floor of the Factories Act along with amendments on overtime placed before the Lok Sabha 5.Move the Supreme Court for the repeal of related clauses in the Rajasthan Factories Act as being ultra vires of the constitution and 6. Amend the Companies Act to ensure that corporate culpability, including criminal liability, is adequately ensured to protect workers and citizens affected by industrial accidents and environmental damage. (email@example.com)