Martine Aubry called shortly for a possible indictment in connection with an investigation on the damage caused by asbestos, justice focusing its action in the 80s when she was a senior official in the Ministry of Labour. The former first secretary of the PS is called by the judge Marie-Odile Bertella-Geffroy, who is interested in government action against the asbestos in the years 1970-80, it was learned Monday a source close to the investigation. It will be heard for the functions "director of labor relations" between 1984 and 1987 the Ministry of Labour. His entourage told AFP that Aubry "will obviously every assistance to the judicial inquiry, as it did during its hearings by the Senate fact-finding missions and the National Assembly." "She will explain how the administration of labor relations while she ran, had constantly to strengthen the protection of workers from asbestos," adds his entourage. Dozens of officials, including Martine Aubry, have been heard as witnesses in this investigation since 2009. The carcinogenicity of asbestos is known since the 50s but the first decree regulating its use dates from 1977 and its 1997 ban. In 2005, a Senate report had plagued the state for his "mismanagement" of asbestos. Heavily used especially in the construction industry, asbestos is considered responsible for 10-20% of lung cancers and could cause 100,000 deaths in 2025, according to health officials. The influence of lobbying on the administration "Like all those who worked with me, I was convinced that the decree of 1977 and that of 1987 allowed us to effectively protect the health of employees," Aubry told at the hearing as a witness consulted by the AFP. "No warning came from the CNAM, Department of Health, other actors or researchers tell us that this was not the case," she said again. "The need to ban asbestos was reached with the Peto study", the name of the British scientist who in 1994 highlighted the risk of disease after exposure of short duration asbestos, she said. In this investigation, the judge Bertella-Geffroy is particularly interested in the influence of the Standing Committee on Asbestos (CPA), considered by the victims as the lobbying structure of the industrial sector in the 1980s. Almost all the officials heard by the court affirmed that the asbestos industry did not seek to influence them, according to a source familiar with the matter. "I did not know the existence of the CPA or my arrival in 1984 or out in 1987," says Aubry has to investigators. Several officials of the CPA have however recently been indicted and victims believe that this committee has had a decisive influence on the delay in the ban. "With the CPA, it is the heart of the responsibility for the disaster of asbestos", recently estimated Desriaux Francois, vice president of the National Association for the defense of asbestos victims (Andeva). Mr. Desriaux described the committee as "a structure of lobbying (...) was really there to delay the implementation of measures to prevent more severe, with a real communication strategy of disinformation." The CPA, which ran from 1982 to 1995, was an informal gathering industrial, government officials, scientists and unions.
gloriacalzita is based in Quezon, Central Luzon, Philippines,
and is a Stringer for Allvoices.