Brazilian Trade Union Supports Asbestos Ban 

by Laurie Kazan-Allen



CUT, the biggest Brazilian trade union, has taken a frontline position in the fight to ban asbestos. Last month CUT released a statement supporting a Brazilian asbestos ban as a "matter of public health and human rights."1 Referencing the landmark 2012 Italian verdict which convicted Eternit executives of the asbestos deaths of workers and members of the public, CUT highlighted the role played by trade unions in exposing the impact of asbestos on workers' health and called on the Supreme Court to take action. Some weeks previously at the CUT Annual General Meeting a motion was approved supporting state asbestos bans and asserting that the use of asbestos in Brazil was unconstitutional.

Keeping up the momentum, on August 30, the evening before the second day of asbestos hearings at the Supreme Court, CUT held a book launch in Brasilia of a monograph on Eternit centered on the fight for justice undertaken and won by Italians exposed to Eternit asbestos. The newly published edition is a Portuguese translation of the IBAS publication: Eternit & The Great Asbestos Trial.


Juneia Martins Batista speaking at the book launch.

Welcoming people to the event, Juneia Martins Batista, CUT's Health Secretary, said that the story of the Italian fight against Eternit reflected the universal struggle against asbestos. CUT was proud to publish 5,000 copies of this book and intends to distribute them to stakeholders such as trade union members, government officials, schools and libraries all over the country.


From left: Juneia Martins Batista, Laurie Kazan-Allen, Fernanda Giannasi.

Fernanda Giannasi, one of the contributing authors of the book, thanked CUT for its leadership. She thanked the international guests present at the launch for their participation and wished all the expert witnesses good luck for the following day.

Laurie Kazan-Allen, a co-editor of the book as well as a contributing author, expressed her appreciation for the great job which had been done in translating and publishing: “Eternit e o Grande Julgamento do Amianto.” Having spent hours researching corporate files for the book, she was appalled by Eternit's lack of compassion and concern for the human beings it had damaged. The solidarity shown by CUT with the victims is of crucial importance to the global struggle for asbestos justice.

As the social element of the evening began, many of the guests requested that their copies of the new text be signed by Laurie.


September 4, 2012


1 Banning Asbestos: A Matter of Public Health and Human Rights.



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