Unions are calling for asbestos victims to be fully informed about the impact of the global financial crisis on the ability of James Hardie to meet its compensation obligations.
The ACTU and Unions NSW said reports that the severe housing downturn in the United States is adversely affecting the ability of the James Hardie company to make a payment to the Asbestos Injuries Compensation Fund are worrying.
Unions are seeking an urgent briefing on the current financial position of the Asbestos Injuries Compensation Fund by the Fund Trustees and the NSW Government.
“It is also essential that James Hardie keep asbestos victims and unions in the loop over the impact of the housing downturn,” said ACTU Assistant Secretary Geoff Fary.
“Unions are requesting a meeting with James Hardie to ensure they are fully briefed on the financial position of the company.
“Our message to sufferers of asbestos related diseases is that unions will continue to vigorously pursue the maintenance of a fully-funded compensation scheme as a major priority.”
“Foremost in our consideration is the interests of the asbestos victims,” said Unions NSW Secretary Mark Lennon.
“They should not be disadvantaged because of the gyrations of the international financial markets.
“It is in their interests that James Hardie remains a profitable business and is thus able to meet its obligations to the fund for many years to come.”