By John Donovan
Printed below is an email sent to RDS CEO Mr Peter Voser on 4 May 2012 by a former Shell employee representing former workers at a Shell/Basf Chemicals factory in Brazil.
The factory was built in 1977 by Shell. Dozens of former employees of the plant have been diagnosed with prostate, thyroid and other types of cancer, circulatory, liver and intestinal illnesses, as well as infertility and sexual impotence.
In August 2010, the two companies were ordered to pay a total of 490 million euros in fines and damages for the workers exposure to toxic substances. The defendant companies have appealed to successively higher courts, initially trying to get the verdict overturned and after that failed, seeking to have the awarded sum reduced. This process is dragging on with no end in sight.
Since I was given to understand that Mr Voser is a decent man, I suggested that the group should send him an email seeking his personal intervention. They have not thus far received the courtesy of a reply. I guess Mr Voser is preoccupied counting his cash.
EMAIL TO MR PETER VOSER
From: Manoel Miguel
Sent: Friday, May 04, 2012 9:04 PM
Subject: A letter from ATESQ – Association of Workers Exposed to Chemical Substances at Shell Chemicals.
Dear Mr. Peter Voser,
As a former worker at Shell Brasil SA – Chemical Division in Paulinia – Sao Paulo – Brazil, and following the decision of our group of workers, I’m sending you a letter in English with some details of our situation now in Brazil, still waiting for Shell/Basf to attend our emergency cause and finding ways to finish our suffering that lasts for more than two years and almost nothing has been done so far.
We implore you to intervene directly in this case and help to diminish the pain of those who served for the company with all their best and have the rights to live in dignity a fair life after all damages mentioned in the letter has occurred without our will or fault. Maybe a fair agreement can put an end to the lawsuit and also to our pain.
We look forward to hearing from you,
Miguel – Former Worker
In the name of ATESQ
Unified Chemical Workers Union
Campinas – Sao Paulo – Brazil
Extracts from the letter sent as an attachment:
Dear Mr. Peter Voser
This is a brief report over those problems of contamination’s we, former Shell Chemical employees in Paulina suffered and look for Shell attention and a final solution to our cause.
Workers were put under harmful exposition to chemical agents, systemic toxic products (most of them had been banished around the World before its production by Shell in Brazil)…
So far, more than 60 former workers died under the average of 55 years old with high complexity traces of contamination. In Brazil, and particularly in our region, life expectancy is about 73, but that dream for us, Shell former workers, is not possible.
COMPLETE: Letter to Mr Peter Voser