8/F Gold Peak Building
30 Kwai Wing Road
Fax : 2489 1879 / 24232660
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Mr. Lo,
RE: CADMIUM POISIONING AND POLLUTION IN CHINA
It has come to our notice that your two factories in HuiZhou, China, has poisoned at least 300 of your workers who were found with much higher than normal level of cadmium last year, and at least six of them has already being officially diagnosis as cadmium poisoning. We are aware of the fact that cadmium is a toxic chemical that must be handled with care. However, you make your workers to process cadmium with little protection and no OSH training for years, which resulted in wide scale poisoning among hundreds of workers. In addition to this, it was also widely reported that there might be serious community pollution by your company. One environmental group found that there were higher than normal level of cadmium in the community.
We notice that you have admitted the seriousness of the case indirectly in your company half-year report that stated that your company paid more than 10 million HK dollars for medical care and compensation. However, it is far from what is necessary.
There is no transparency at all as to the actual scale of the poisoning. Your company releases nothing at all concerning this. And without this, the workers, the community, and the consumers around the world who may buy GP products, are unable to defend their own rights.
Although two dozens of Hong Kong NGOs and trade unions has pressed your company to involve NGOs and trade unions in the monitoring of OSH training to your workers, it seems that you practically ignored their reasonable demand.
We notice that cadmium is difficult to get out of the body, which implies that it may stay in the workers’ bodies for years, and that it may cause cancer and chronic bone pains years later. The workers are concerned that once they leave the factories, or once the factories got winding up, they will be left without any medical care and compensation when they seriously fall ill years later. However, there is no mechanism at all which could provide some assurance to workers. You make private promises to NGOs that you will set up a special fund for this purpose and will involve NGOs in this effort. However, we see no public commitment and no real progress from your company.
Your company has gone so far that on the 3rd September 2004, your subsidiary the HuiZhou GP issued a joint letter with the local government to workers banning them from petitioning the Central government, which we consider as a gross violation of human rights.
Therefore, we demand that your company:
1. Be publicly accountable to your workers, the community and the consumers; release all vital information concerning the cadmium poisoning case;
2. To involve NGOs and trade unions in the monitoring of OSH training to workers;
3. Set up the fund for taking care of your workers and involve the NGOs in the process.
4. Respect the basic human right of the workers, particularly the right to petition.
9th, May, 2005
Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network
Focus on the Global South
Committee for Asian Women
Public Services Labour Independent Confederation , Philippines.
Globalization from Below, Korea.
Janaraja Joint Health Services Union, Sri Lanka
Occupational Disease & Epidemic Disease Research Centre*, Japan (職業性疾患・疫学研究中心) , Japan
ATTAC (Association for the Taxation of financial Transactions for the Aid of Citizens), Japan
National League of Autonomous Labor
Green Citizens' Action Alliance, Taiwan
Taiwan: A Radical Quarterly in Social Studies
Workers Democracy Association, Taiwan
Tatung Panchiao Factory Trade Union, Taiwan
Taiwan Association for Victims of Occupational Injuries (TAVOI)
Taiwan International Workers' Association
Shin Shin Natural Gas Workers' Union* , Taiwan (欣欣天然氣工會)
Xinli Chemical Industry Workers' Union*, Taiwan (信立化工工會)
Dragon Bus Workers' Union*, Taiwan (尊龍客運工會)
Taipei Government Employees' Union*, Taiwan (台北縣政府公務機關受雇者產業工會)
Keelung Bus Workers' Union*, Taiwan (基隆客運工會)
Unitech Workers Union*, Taiwan (燿華電子工會)
Taichung Bus Workers Union*, Taiwan (台中客運工會)
Shinhai Gas Workers Union*, Taiwan (新海瓦斯工會)
Datong Sanxia Factory Workers Union*, Taiwan (大同三峽廠工會)
(*Remarks: the english names of these organizations are not the official English names but ones translated from their Chinese names. In brackets are the Chinese names of the organizations.)