Union Urges Asbestos Ruling Change

Asbestos Ruling

03.10.2008

The UK's biggest union has claimed that a House of Lords ruling on negligence has left thousands of people suffering from exposure to asbestos in "compensation limbo".

Unite has called for the Government to overturn a 2007 Law Lords ruling that ended a 20-year right for victims with pleural plaques to receive compensation. Alternatively, the union wants to see the immediate establishment of an employer's insurance scheme to compensate sick workers.

Pleural plaques are acquired as a result of negligent exposure to asbestos dust in the workplace. Recent test cases were brought by insurance companies and employers to avoid their responsibility for an established right to compensation.

Responding to the Ministry of Justice's consultation on the disease, Derek Simpson, Unite Joint General Secretary, said: "The Law Lords' ruling was a disaster for working people.

"Overnight, thousands of seriously wronged workers were plunged into a compensation limbo - knowing they had a 1 in 20 chance of serious injury and death through their employer's negligence but now denied justice. This ruling must be overturned."

He added: "It is clear that neither employers nor the insurance industry will do right by these workers so we need our Government to make them."

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Adrian Budgen from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "The recent announcement by the Scottish Government that pleural plaques sufferers will be entitled to seek compensation in Scotland only serves to highlight the injustice, as that would create an unfortunate "postcode lottery". Companies that operate on both sides of the border would have to pay compensation to employees north of the border but not to those who worked in, say, the North-East of England. That is completely unacceptable."

If you or a loved one has been affected by an asbestos related illness, our solicitors can help you to claim compensation. See our Asbestos Claims page for more information.