Gas tragedy survivors of Bhopal have found more international support with the Black Workers’ Conference of the Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC) unanimously passing a resolution backing the three-decade-long struggle for justice.
The STUC also agreed to send a delegation of Scottish trade unionists to Bhopal in December this year on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of what is considered one of the worst industrial disasters in the world.
More than 3,500 people were killed in the Madhya Pradesh capital after a pesticide factory, then owned by Union Carbide, leaked a poisonous gas in December, 1984.
The STUC is the coordinating body of trade unions and local trade councils in Scotland and represents over 6,30,000 trade unionists of the country.
The 18th STUC Black Workers' Conference, held at Cumbernauld (Scotland), ended on October 6.
The motion for support to Bhopal was moved at the behest of Eurig Scandrett of Scottish Friends of Bhopal — a project of UK-based charity Bhopal Medical Appeal.
In an e-mail interaction with HT, Scandrett, who was also one of the speakers at the Black workers' conference, said "Scottish trade unions have a long history of international solidarity. The Bhopalis' ongoing struggle for justice resonates with any Black worker who know that their campaigns against occupational and environmental hazards and for decent working conditions are common to workers throughout the world."
The resolution, which was posted on the website of Bhopal Medical Appeal said, "This conference notes the forthcoming anniversary of 30 years since the catastrophic Bhopal disaster — still considered the world's worst industrial accident with 20,000 deaths, 500,000 injured and approximately 150,000 struggling with serious medical conditions."
The resolution also mentioned that "the environmental impact continues to devastate communities, health and livelihoods within a large impoverished area."
Reacting to the support, Rachna Dhingra of Bhopal Group of Information and Action (BGIA), who is also associated with Bhopal Medical Appeal, said that the Bhopal survivors' organisations are "absolutely thrilled" at the solidarity of the Scottish group.
"We are hopeful that solidarity action like these will put pressure on the present owner Dow Chemical to address its outstanding its civil, criminal and environmental liability in Bhopal," she said.