James T's story

I want to thank Unite Legal Services for the help they gave me during my case against my former employer.

Unite member, James*, was exposed to asbestos as a shipyard labourer in Northern Ireland for 20 years.

He recalled asbestos in the air like snow. He worked alongside laggers who mixed and applied asbestos as well as pipe fitters who cut asbestos lagging. On occasions, James had to break off old asbestos to get access to pipes.

James was never provided with any protection or warned of the dangers of asbestos throughout his employment at the shipyard.

Some 30 years after leaving the shipyard he began to suffer shortness of breath and his GP referred him for investigations. He was diagnosed with asbestos-related pleural plaques.

James had approached a number of non-union solicitors and was told that they would not take his case on, but Unite Legal Services agreed to represent its retired member.

Although the right to compensation for pleural plaques was ended in 2007 by the House of Lords in England & Wales, claims can still be made in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Unite Legal Services took on the case, which was settled before it came to court and compensation was secured for James.

James said:

“I sought advice elsewhere and was told I had no case but thanks to Unite Legal Services I have won my case.”

* Names may have been changed to protect the identity of our member.