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Leading asbestos lawyer highlights Indian asbestos workers claims

Leading asbestos lawyer Harminder Bains highlights the plight of asbestos workers in India ahead of documentary film directed by Belgian filmmaker Daniel Lambo

1 August 2018

Harminder Bains, joint head of the asbestos team at Leigh Day spoke at the Hazards National Conference at the end of July which took place at Keele University.

The conference is organised by the hazards campaign which supports those organising and campaigning for justice and safety at work.

Harminder’s own father died following exposure to asbestos and she highlighted to the conference the release of a new documentary entitled Breathless which looks at the struggle of ordinary people across two continents against the asbestos industry which stands accused of negligently exposing, and in the case of India, still exposes, them to asbestos.

BREATHLESS - Trailer from Storyhouse on Vimeo.

For updates on when and where the documentary is showing, please visit the Breathless Facebook page.

One of the companies accused of negligently exposing their workers to asbestos in India is Everest Industries Ltd, the largest manufacturer of asbestos products in that country.

Harminder highlighted the work of Indian Trade Union ‘Worker’s Initiative – Kolkata’ who allege that Everest Industries Limited have suspended two workers in April this year, Arun Chakraborty and Goutam Sardar, for taking an active role in exposing the dangers of asbestos.

They claim the management of company is ‘terrorizing’ workers, threatening them if they speak out over the danger of exposure to asbestos during the manufacture of roof sheets amongst other asbestos based products by the company.

Despite the efforts of Everest Industries Limited to thwart the union’s activities, the union has been supported by hundreds of workers. However, they have stressed that it remains difficult for the workers alone to continue their struggle and have asked for support for the following objectives:
 
  • To explore the possibility to start an online petition to the Chief Executive of Everest Industries Ltd,
  • India Trade Unions, NGO’s and Civil Society to issue statements endorsing the demands of the workers.
  • To extend the financial support to the struggle of the workers.

Messages of support can be emailed to Worker’s Initiative Kolkata: workersinkolkata@gmail.com

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