In a significant victory for the Indian factory workers affected by mercury poisoning, the global consumer products company Unilever announced on Wednesday a welfare compensation that brings a long and angry battle to an end.
The settlement between Hindustan Unilever and the 591 former workers of the thermometer factory in the southern Indian hill town of Kodaikanal “is an unprecedented victory and a fitting culmination of the 15-year campaign,”said a statement by activists on their website.
The settlement negotiated between the company and the workers was endorsed by the Madras High Court in the southern state of Tamil Nadu on Wednesday.
A viral rap video, which drew more than 3.5 million worldwide views online last year, had raised the pressure on the company to settle and clean up mercury poisoning at Kodaikanal. The video, produced by environmental activists here, was followed by an aggressive social media campaign and a call for a boycott of the company’s products.
Dev Bajpai, the legal executive director of Hindustan Unilever, said in a statement: “The well-being of our employees and the communities in which we operate has and will always remain paramount.” Read more