The ACTU has rejected a new proposal by the Board of James Hardie for a statutory scheme that would limit the rights of victims of its deadly asbestos products.
ACTU Assistant Secretary Richard Marles said:
“The James Hardie proposal could represent one of the meanest acts in
Australian corporate history.
The scheme it proposes would shortchange the many thousands of Australians
who will ultimately die as a result of exposure to work-related asbestos.
The notion that we should limit access to proper compensation for the death
of so many people is a disgrace.
However, at least the new James Hardie proposal is an acknowledgment that the
company should pay back the money it took out of Australia to provide for its
asbestos victims and is a long overdue recognition of their legal and moral
But even in this recognition, James Hardie is seeking to turn its own
wrongdoing to an advantage by proposing to drastically limit the amount it would
have to pay its victims and to strip away their legal rights.
Hardies should repatriate all of the money it has taken out of Australia and
face up to its responsibilities to fully compensate asbestos victims.
Hardies should never have secretly made off with the money in the first
It is money that rightfully belongs to the victims of James Hardie and comes
from profits made by their selling of a deadly product over decades.
James Hardie shareholders should now demand that the compensation fund for
victims is fully funded and that the current board resign.”