The case of workers at the Hong Kong-owned battery producer Gold Peak’s three China-based factories, who are suffering from exposure to the chemical cadmium, has received international attention.
A statement from campaign group Globalization Monitor (GM) notes that the factories in Huizhou, in southern Guangdong province, "have an appalling history of health and safety violations and long working hours".
More than 400 Gold Peak workers are suffering high levels of cadmium in their body, at least eight have been diagnosed with cadmium poisoning. These injuries, typical in China where over 136,000 workers died in industrial accidents last year, were the result of criminally deficient safety procedures and lack of protective clothing. Together with supporters and labour rights activists, they have been campaigning for improved compensation from the company and better provision of medical check-ups, sickness insurance etc. Campaigners attending the Hong Kong anti-WTO week of action received news today (12 December) of new scandal, as 200 workersturning up for their annual health check-up (to monitor their cadmium levels) were told by management to undress in order to leave a urine sample. As the GM statement points out, "this is completely unnecessary to the procedure and is clearly aimed at intimidating the workers."
"When the workers complained and approached the factory management to try and negotiate a solution, management ordered security staff at the factory to physically attack the workers," continued the statement. Campaign groups in Hong Kong are calling on trade unions and other concerned organisations to send protests to the company (address below). A protest action against the company is planned during the week.
More background on the Gold Peak worker’s plight (from chinaworker.org – opens in new window)
Send protests to:
(enclose name of organisation, country of origin and email/postal address)
Gold Peak Industries (Holdings) Limited
8/F Gold Peak Building
30 Kwai Wing Road
Fax : 2489 1879 / 2423 2660
Send copy to Globalization Monitor:
P.O.Box 72797, Kowloon Post Office, Hong Kong
Send copy to: