The Taiwan High Court orders Radio Corporation of America (RCA) and it affiliates to pay NT$718.4 million (US$ 23.7 million) to 468 former workers and their families. The verdict is part of a long standing lawsuit seeking compensation for the emotional distress and historical health risks/damages of workers at RCA. The verdict highlighted that Technicolor, Thomson Consumer Electronics Ltd., and General Electric Company were also jointly liable. As a result, the court ruled that all companies should compensate workers.
RCA has operated plants in Taiwan employing tens of thousands in the production of colour TVs and other consumer electronics. Yet, the verdict ruled that between 1970 and 1992 the manufacturing processes used hazardous chlorinated organic solvents, including trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethene. Exposure to these solvents increases the risk of cancer and is also linked to soil contamination at some of the production sites. RCA has since shut down many of these plants, however more than 1,300 of the firm’s Taiwanese employees have been diagnosed with various types of cancer.
The lawsuit started 10 years ago and many of the original workers have since died or seen their health deteriorate. Despite this, the verdict was a victory and members of the RCA Self-Help Association, which represented the workers, yesterday afternoon gathered in front of the High Court’s Taipei branch to celebrate.
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