Wednesday, 16 June 2010


so here's an on-going travesty of justice. you may recall the union carbide disaster in bhopal, india as the worst industrial disasters to ever hit that country. thousands dead at the time, and on-going health issues that have led to the death of thousands more. there was compensation of $470 million paid to the indian government, but it has been a struggle to get that money to the people who deserve it.

and now, 25 long years since the disaster, seven indian employees of union carbide have received a two-year jail sentence. now i'm generally not one to be calling for long prison sentences, in that they don't achieve too much for the persons convicted. and i'm also not into revenge-type sentencing. but this whole thing just doesn't seem right. there are some serious occupational safety and health issues here, and a whole culture that needs changing.

seriously though, when i hear people in this country criticise OSH regulations, and complain about the related costs, it makes me pretty sick. it's not as if we have some kind of wonderful record when it comes to keeping workers safe, with an estimated 700 to 1,000 workers dying every year from work-related diseases. if your business can't cover the cost of keeping workers safe, then it simply shouldn't exist.

as for the people of bhopal, i don't think they will ever achieve anything close to justice. one could hope that there have been lessons learned, and that working conditions have improved across the country. but i don't really think that has happened either. there's no happy ending here.

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