Chennai, March 9: The long pending dispute between Hindustan Unliever (HUL) and former workers of its thermometer manufacturing unit at Kodaikanal today ended after the company announced a settlement on “humanitarian considerations” for 591 workers who would be paid ex-gratia and will be given other support measures.
The memorandum of settlement between HUL and Pond’s HLL ex-Mercury Employees Welfare Association reached after the matter was recorded by the Madras High Court on Wednesday.
S A Mahindra Babu, the president of employees association was quoted by media where he said, that the terms of agreement will help factory’s former employees in a long run. Read Also: (Hindustan Unilever settles toxic vapour issue with ex-employees)
In 2006, the workers of HUL moved to the court following which the Madras High Court asked the company to resolve the issue. For past two years the negotiation between workers and HUL went on and finally they reached to a settlement last Friday. The HUL finally agreed to provide ex gratia payments to 591 of its former employees.
Know how a rap song ‘Kodaikanal Won’t’ solved 15-year-old battle
A year ago an ex-advertising professional Sofia Ashraf’s rap song ‘Kodaikanal Won’t’ changed the entire battle which was fought on a local ground and brought the debate on international forum. The rap song shows the issue plaguing the hill station and the worst condition of former workers of a plant located there.
Ashraf had released her video on YouTube which was set to the tune of singer Nicki Minaj’s hit ‘My Anaconda’. The video garnered over three million hits on YouTube and trended for several days on social media.
Ashraf, a resident of Chennai quit her job with Ogilvy & Mather, an advertising agency that worked for Unilever brands and joined Jhatkaa, an NGO which was fighting for the former workers of HUL Kodaikanal plant. The rap alleged that the dumping had damaged the environment at Kodaikanal hill station.
As soon as Ashraf’s video went viral, Unilever’s CEO Paul Polman tweeted that he did not accept different standards and urged to solve the issue at the earliest. Within eight months of the statement the settlement plan was kept in front of HUL’s former employees.
Watch the rap song here: Kodaikanal Won’t