Aug 6th, 2015
Unilever: Clean up your mess!
By Nat Whalley
They dumped tons of toxic waste, devastated an entire town and poisoned thousands of their own workers. That’s Unilever: a huge UK corporation that makes billions of pounds in profit. But they aren’t paying up to help the victims of a massive mercury leak they caused in the Indian town of Kodaikanal.
It’s hard not to be emotional when you read the facts. More than 45 workers exposed to mercury during their employment are dead. And at least 18 children, born to workers of the Unilever unit, have died so far and more than 30 are severely affected.
Local residents, ex-workers from the factory and campaigners across India are calling out Unilever for poisoning thousands of men, women and children. Without proper compensation, families are still struggling to rebuild their lives.
38 Degrees’ sister organisation in India, Jhatkaa, have been working with the Kodaikanal community and grassroots activists to get Unilever to finally act. For 14 years Unilever have ignored the plight of workers, and refused to take responsibility for the mercury leak.
Now 38 Degrees members, alongside Jhatkaa members, campaigners and local residents in India are piling the pressure on Unilever. We’re the customers who buy Unilever products, and Unilever will be hoping to sit tight and wait until the fuss dies down.
But 38 Degrees members won’t let the fuss die down. Unilever own brands worth millions of pounds in the UK, and they spend thousands of pounds trying to protect their reputation. So if we flood the social media pages of their brands with messages, and send very public tweets to their CEO, we could convince them to take responsibility, and help the victims of this awful disaster.
Unilever care about their reputation. They’ve got an army of staff dedicated to looking after their customers. If we get together in our thousands and email, phone, tweet and facebook Unilever directly, we can force them to respond. Will you join in?
38 Degrees members stand up to protect people when big UK based companies, like Unilever, think they can get away with behaving badly. This time last year, thousands of us got together to force Matalan to pay compensation to the victims of a tragic disaster in the factory which made its clothes. We called, emailed and tweeted them – and we won. Now it’s time to do it again.