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Union Carbide in India


Union Carbide Corporation is a chemical and polymers company in the United States of America. This foreign company set up a factory in Bhopal to produce methyl-isocyanides


Now let us see the reasons why the US based company set up a plant in India

  • India provides cheap labour compared to America. Wages paid to workers in America are much higher than in India.

  • For lower pay, the company can get longer hours of work.

  • Additional expenses such as housing facilities for workers are also fewer in India.

  • Thus, companies can save costs and earn higher profits.

Other means of cost cutting by companies

  • Lower working conditions and lower safety measures

Now let us compare the working conditions between the 2 Union Carbide companies in the USA and India.

Union Carbide in the USA Union Carbide in India
1. Computerised warning and monitoring systems were in place.
1. The factory relied on manual gauges and the human senses to detect gas leaks.

Every safety device was malfunctioning or was in short supply.

2. Emergency evacuation plans were in place.
2. Emergency evacuation Plans were nonexistent.
3. Workers were given proper safety training.
3. The period of safety training for workers was brought down from 6 months to 15 days!
4. The post of night-shift worker for the plant was abolished.


Let us look into the reasons for the sharp differences in safety standards in the 2 countries

  • High rate of unemployment in India
  • Workers willing to work in unsafe conditions in return for a wage
  • One worker can easily replace another due to over population
  • Ignorance and the vulnerability of workers are taken advantage of by the employers

Even today there are regular reports of accidents in construction sites, mines or factories due to the callous attitude of the employers.

It is the duty of the government to ensure that the various laws passed by it are enforced to protect the workers.

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