工作场所有毒化学品侵害讼诉案(台湾)

ex-RCA employees celebrate

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2004年4月,529名“美国无线电公司污染受害者关怀协会”(RCA Victims Aid Organisation)的工人及其亲属向台北地方法院递交诉讼,就有毒溶剂侵害问题起诉美国无线电公司、特艺集团、美国特艺公司(原汤姆森家用电器公司)、汤姆森家用电器公司(百慕大)和通用电气公司。

涉案工厂属于美国无线电公司,1967至1992年,在台湾生产电视机组件。被起诉的其他被告均为涉案工厂运营期间美国无线电公司的股东。原告方的诉讼代理人由台湾法律扶助基金会的律师担任。原告方声称在为美国无线电公司工作期间,暴露在有致癌风险的工作环境中,而美国无线电公司没有为他们提供安全的工作环境和充足的安全培训,也没有对使用的化学品进行专业的风险评估。涉案工厂使用的化学品还造成了地下水污染。原告方指控由于化学品的侵害,他们中已有61人死于癌症,另有243人身患癌症。1996至1998年,在政府部门的压力下,通用电气公司和汤姆森公司对涉案工厂进行了污染调查,并试图整治已遭污染的地下水,但最后表示,工厂地下水受到了永久性污染,难以恢复。

美国无线电公司辩称,由于原告的起诉已经超过诉讼时效,该诉讼应被驳回;此外,原告关于工厂使用的化学品以及使用时间的指控均不属实。美国特艺公司(美国无线电公司的前股东)表示,该公司与讼诉员工没有直接联系。通用电气(美国无线电公司的前股东)支持美国无线电公司的辩护,并表示该公司没有对原告的健康造成损害。特艺集团和汤姆森公司(美国无线电公司的主要股东)对诉讼没有发表任何评论。

2005年,台北地方法院因程序问题将诉讼驳回,但台湾最高法院废弃先前判决,命令地方法院重新审理。2007年,除美国无线电公司外,污染受害员工还将汤姆森公司、美国特艺公司和通用电气公司列为被告。2015年4月17日,地方法院做出有利于受害员工的判决,判决美国无线电公司、美国特艺公司和汤姆森公司向445名受害人赔偿5亿6千4百万新台币。判决后,原告和美国无线电公司均考虑上诉。台湾法律扶助基金会和台湾劳动部目前正在劝说更多的涉案工厂前雇员加入诉讼。

- 前美国无线电公司员工赢得工作场所有毒物品侵害诉讼 “Ex-RCA employees win Taiwan workplace lawsuit”,今日台湾(Taiwan Today),2015年4月20日
- 美国无线电公司的母公司被判支付5亿6千万新台币 “RCA parent firms to pay NT$560 mil.”,Stephanie Chao,中国邮报(China Post),2015年4月18日
- 美国无线电公司污染案在台北开始审理 “RCA pollution trial begins in Taipei”,台湾英文旺报(Want China Times),2014年12月12日
- 美国无线电公司和前雇员均准备上诉 “RCA, ex-workers to appeal ruling”, Lii Wen, 台北时报(Taipei Times),2015年5月27日
- 癌症工厂:美国无线电公司工人为正义而战 “The Cancer Factory: RCA Workers Battle for Justice”, Teng Sue-feng and Phil Newell, 台湾光华杂志(Taiwan Panorama),2007年10月

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作者: Lii Wen, CNA

The decade-long legal battle between Radio Corp of America (RCA) and its former employees is expected to continue, as both parties intend to appeal the latest ruling on the case.

The Legal Aid Foundation…urged former employees to join the RCA Self-Help Association’s campaign to demand compensation for occupational diseases…The…Association…said that the company should be held responsible for more than 1,300 cases of cancer diagnosed among former RCA employees after the company shut down in 1992.

Legal Aid Foundation executive-secretary Chen Wei-hsiang…said that…former employees are eligible to participate in the association and upcoming legal action as long as they sign up before June 19 through the foundation’s special hotlines…

Association president Liu Ho-yun…said that the group has received 100 to 200 calls per day since the court ruling was announced last month…She said many new members of the association are cancer patients…

Ministry of Labor Department of Labor Relations Director Wang Hou-wei…said the ministry is to provide financial assistance to the workers for legal expenses through a special fund…

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作者: Taiwan Today

A landmark verdict awarding NT$560 million (US$17.97 million) in damages for workplace health and safety violations to…former Radio Corporation of America employees in Taiwan was handed down April 17 by Taipei District Court.

The court ruled that the now-defunct…electronics manufacturer allowed toxic chemical waste to impact the health of its workers…This allegedly caused more than 2,000 individuals to develop cancer and claimed 260 lives.

Launched in 2004, the action sought damages of NT$2.7 billion from RCA, General Electronics Co. and Thomson Consumer Electronics. The court exonerated GE from any responsibility.

RCA operated in northern Taiwan from 1970 to 1992, with major facilities in Hsinchu County and Taoyuan City employing…thousands of workers and producing television sets and various consumer electronics.

The Taoyuan facility was taken over by GE in 1986 and later purchased by… Technicolor SA. The France-based firm shuttered the plant in 1992 and sold the property to a local real estate developer.

Former Legislator Chao Shao-kang brought the situation to light in 1994, and four years later the Environmental Protection Administration declared the site unfit for real estate development after confirming ground water contamination. A Cabinet-level task force was organized in 1999 to investigate the case, but later disbanded…

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作者: Stephanie Chao, China Post

The decade-long lawsuit against…parent firms of Radio Corporation of America…bore results…as the Taipei District Court…deemed the RCA brand and four related companies' usage of carcinogenic ingredients…had a direct correlation to many of the former employees' cancer diagnoses. General Electric…Technicolor (formally Thomson SA), Technicolor U.S.A and Thomson Consumer Electronics (Bermuda)…were ruled to be responsible in the lawsuit as well…

The Taoyuan County Former RCA Employees' Solicitude Association…acted as the plaintiff in the case and successfully secured NT$560 million in compensation for nearly 450 employees of the 529 former RCA workers…

While former employees…[of] the RCA factory in Taoyuan were eligible for payment, workers at RCA facilities in Yilan and Hsinchu were deemed ineligible…Other factors disqualifying workers from compensation included failure to take legal action during the designated time frame…decided by RCA's parent firms or failure to take legal action within two years of a cancer diagnosis.

…Despite the court's ruling, The Association's attorney…said that it is still possible The Association will not collect its compensation, as there are no funds being held in Taiwan under the RCA brand name…

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作者: Want China Times

The first trial of the lawsuit against Radio Corporation of America (RCA) was held in Taiwan's Taipei District Court on Friday. Lawyers for both sides were expected to make their final arguments…

Chen Wei-jian, head of National Taiwan University's College of Public Health, blasted RCA for…ignoring the hazardous effects it would have on the environment and workers after it closed its doors…Chen said it was legal loopholes that allowed such unethical businesses practices to take place.

…The US company opened factories in Taoyuan and Hsinchu in northern Taiwan in 1967. During its 22 years of operation, over 80,000 people were empl[o]yed…Emissions from factories included carcinogens…the harmful effects of which were not brought to light until…1994.

An RCA Pollution Victims Aid Organization was set up in order to track down workers whose health was affected…The group has…tracked down 1,451 former employees, yet 260 have already died…None of them have received any compensation.

The organization, formed by…former…workers, flied the lawsuit against RCA, General Electric and three foreign companies in 2004. However, due to the fact that that…the fact that the statue of limitation…[had] expired…the court did not summon victims until 2009. The organization demands compensation of NT$2.4 billion (US$77 million)…

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作者: Teng Sue-feng and Phil Newell, Taiwan Panorama

1969: RCA builds a plant in Taiwan.
1970: The RCA Taoyuan plant goes into operation, making electronic parts for televisions. At its peak, the plant employs over 18,000 people.
1986: The Taoyuan plant is acquired by GE, another US firm.
1988: The Taoyuan plant is acquired by Thomson, a French firm.
1992: Thomson discovers that the groundwater at the plant site has been contaminated by pollutants and closes the factory. Taiwan's Ever Fortune Group buys the land and prepares to develop a shopping center.
1994: Legislator Jaw Shau-kong reveals the pollution at the RCA plant; the EPA creates a task force to investigate.
1997: The government orders GE and Thomson to deal with the groundwater pollution.
1998: GE and Thomson issue a report declaring the impossibility of cleaning up the groundwater. Ever Fortune files a lawsuit in the US, claiming Thomson concealed knowledge of the pollution.
1998: The RCA Mutual Aid Association petitions the Control Yuan for an investigation. Victimized workers appear in person to charge that their working environment caused their illnesses. The Executive Yuan sets up an interdepartmental taskforce to coordinate research and financial support...
2002: A team of attorneys, working pro bono, is formed to help RCA workers. A civil suit is filed, but it is discovered that most RCA Taiwan assets have been extracted from Taiwan….
2006: The LAF takes the case.
2007: Thomson is added as a co-defendant, and the legal process continues.

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