Unilever India settles mercury poisoning claims with workers

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

NEW DELHI (AP) — The Indian arm of global consumer giant Unilever says it has reached a settlement with hundreds of former employees 15 years after its thermometer plant in southern India was shut following accusations of mercury contamination.

Hindustan Unilever Ltd. said it agreed to provide payments to 591 former workers and their families for livelihood and skill enhancement programs, without accepting legal responsibility. It did not provide the size of the payments.

A workers' group says mercury poisoning killed 45 workers and 18 family members over a period of 33 years. Hindustan Unilever has denied that any employees were harmed. It has acknowledged that some areas of the factory were contaminated but says they were cleaned up after the plant was shut in 2001.