Australia: James Hardie directors show contempt for asbestos sufferers


This video is called The James Hardie Asbestos Scandal.

By Terry Cook:

Australia: James Hardie directors show contempt for asbestos sufferers

27 September 2006

Giant building products company James Hardie Industries (JHIL) continues to treat with contempt the many thousands of people suffering terminal asbestos-related diseases caused by its products.

JHIL board members have this week pushed through a shareholders’ meeting in Amsterdam a proposal to award themselves a 130 percent increase in annual directors’ fees, totalling an extra $A1.1 million a year.

At the same time, the company has continued to block the payment of compensation to the victims of its practices.

In December 2004, in the face of mounting public outrage, JHIL signed an in-principle agreement to set up a fund to meet asbestos compensation claims.

In December 2005, after dragging out negotiations with asbestos victims’ representatives and the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), it agreed to provide an initial $1.7 billion to set up a fund—the Special Purpose Fund (SPF)—as a first step in meeting claims estimated at about $4 billon [sic; billion].

Yet nearly two years after signing the 2004 agreement, the SPF has not yet been established and JHIL has not parted with a single dollar.

Asbestos in India: here.

And here.

Asbestos in France: here.

In Britain: here.

7 thoughts on “Australia: James Hardie directors show contempt for asbestos sufferers

  1. Asbestos in South Africa:

    Dan Jacobson, “The Electronic Elephant.” Penguin, London, 1995.

    “all the asbestos dust flying about in the northern Cape”‘

    p. 110, paragraph 3, alinea 19-34:

    ” . . .I can honestly claim to be one of the first in the world to have heard about the deadly connection between asbestos and certain kinds of cancer. Early in 1960 I paid a visit to Kimberley which coincided with one by a cousin of mine, a physiologist who worked for the Medical Research Council in Johannesburg. He told me that over the previous few years a startling number of ‘freakish’ and ‘florid’ carcinomas had been reported from ‘all over the northern Cape’; now he had a colleague had come down to examine the possibility that these were a consequence of the vast increase in the mining of asbestos locally.

    [Dan:] (I have just looked up the lengthy article on asbestos in the 1962 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. It contains not a word about the mineral presenting any danger to those mining it or using it.)

    alinea 5-19: [1994] Some days later, in Kuruman, I was told that its last asbestos mine had in fact closed down just two years earlier. My informant also told me that in the end the asbestos was being sold to just two countries – to Iran and Yugoslavia. He had made himself unpopular in some quarters, he said, by objecting to the mining itself and to the passage through town of lorries loaded with the material, These objections had been voiced in the local paper and also in an interview with a British television crew. Some of the locals had been furious at his ‘interfering’, as jobs had been lost as a result.

    Oddly enough, the maker of that television programme had come to see me in London – about quite another topic – just a few days before I had set out on my journey. He had told me then about his television investigation of what he called ‘ all the asbestos dust flying about in the northern Cape’. But my interest in the topic was of much longer standing than that.

    [see line 19]

    p. 109, alinea 32 – 36, [coloured lady]: “Maybe one day they’ll find a way of making the asbestos safe again.”

    ‘Again?” I asked.

    She smiled, picking up my point. “Well, we thought it was safe in those days.”

    [Dan Jacobson was born in Kimberley, South Africa. His parents came from Lithuania {Litvak] arrived in SA after 1898 (?) and settled in Kimberley in 1933. Dan now lives in London where he is Professor of English at University College of London].

    [SA Jewish Genealogy, Special Interest Groups: The Poor Jews Temporary Shelter London, U.K. Jewish immigrants came by ship with the major port of entry being at Cape Town but a minority entered at Port Elizabeth, Durban and Lourenco Marques /now Maputo/ The major waves of migration occurred from 1895 onwards. Shipping agents, Knie and Co. and Spiro and Co., had sub-agents in shtetls who accepted bookings for passage to South Africa. Many of the Jews embarked initially at the ports of Libau and were transported on small cargo boats under crude conditions to England. A smaller number passed through Hamburg or Bremen. Many came first to Grimsby or London and were taken to the Poor Jews’ Temporary Shelter in Leman Street in the East End of London. Many records of the inmates of the Shelter are available. Some assistance in the form of board, lodging, medical advice and advice on travel was given by the Shelter. In one year from Nov. 1902, 3,600 out of 4,500 inmates went on to South Africa. From there most went on the Union Castle Line to the Cape. In 1902 the fare was Pounds 10.10.0 (ten guineas) – more than the fare to America.

    Shipping Records: Prof A. Newman , Shemot, Vol. 1:3, 1993.

    Information from: Jewish Genealogy Society of Great Britian.]

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