An Australian mining company has been ordered to pay a record $7.9 million in damages to workers after they suffered long-term psychological distress after being exposed to mercury poisoning in an industrial accident.
Key points:Workers of the mining giant Glencore were forced to endure long-lasting mental health problems after the explosion at the company’s South East Asian operations in BaliA former employee claims to have suffered from ‘severe anxiety’ after working in the companyFor decades, workers at Glencore have worked in the same factory where a deadly explosion at a factory in Bambara last year killed more than 200 people.
Key Points:Worker claims to suffer from ‘deep psychological trauma’ after work at Glencorp’s South Asian operationsIn the first of a number of cases, workers have said they were exposed to high levels of mercury while at the plantThey say they were also exposed to toxic substances from the workplace which included lead, arsenic and copperAll workers had their wages withheld for six months, with many receiving little or no pay for a long time.
But the compensation award was ordered after the worker filed a lawsuit against Glencore, claiming he was suffering from ‘long-lasting psychological trauma and long-standing physical and psychological distress’.
The company said it was ‘aware’ of the claim and would appeal against the ruling.
“Our team continues to investigate the issue and will take appropriate steps in response,” it said in a statement.
“While we are aware of the claims, we are also working closely with our legal team to resolve the matter.”
Mr Bambar said he had suffered “severe anxiety” since working in an unsafe environment.
He was initially granted a settlement of $1.6 million from Glencore after the company admitted it failed to take appropriate measures to prevent a fatal explosion at their Bambaranese factory in 2011.
However, a further $1 million was awarded to the family of a former employee of the company, which was also awarded damages.
Mr Bammar said it would be “an absolute travesty” if the ruling was upheld.
“This is the most serious, protracted, serious breach of the law we have ever seen in this country,” he said.
“The decision of this court to give a judgment of $7 million is an absolute traverty and an absolute disgrace.”
I can’t imagine any person would have a case like this and they are not entitled to a judgment.
“Workers say they suffered a ‘huge amount of emotional distress’The company has since paid $734,000 in compensation to the Bambaram family and its son and daughter.
The award comes as the Bali-based Indonesian company’s board faces calls to hand back control to the country’s president.
Indonesia’s Prime Minister, Joko Widodo, is already under scrutiny after his wife was found dead in the hospital.
Mr Widodo is also under fire after the death of his predecessor, Jokowi, who died of lung cancer in May.
Mr Jokowing has been criticised for his handling of the case and for the decision to dismiss Mr Bambart as a vice president, an unusual position that has been used to circumvent the countrys parliament.