Robert's story

I had sought advice elsewhere and was told I had no case as there was a time limit, but thanks to Unite Legal Services I have won my case.

Retired Unite member, Robert, was exposed to asbestos when he worked as a labourer for a shipbuilding and offshore construction company in Northern Ireland.  

During his time as a labourer, Robert recalled asbestos in the air ‘like snow’. He worked close to laggers who would mix and apply asbestos, and to pipe fitters who cut into asbestos lagging. On occasions, Robert also had to break off old asbestos to access pipes.

Robert was not provided with a mask or personal protective equipment to prevent him from breathing in asbestos, and he was never warned of its dangers throughout his 20-year employment at the shipyard. 

Thirty years after finishing work for his employer he began to suffer shortness of breath. His doctor referred him for tests, which confirmed that Robert had developed asbestos-related pleural plaques. 

After his diagnosis, Robert approached a number of private solicitors firms but was told that they would not take on his case. However, as a retired member of Unite the Union, Robert had access to Unite Legal Services, who represented him. 

Unite Legal Services issued High Court proceedings but liability was accepted and the case was settled before it came to hearing.

Robert said:

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

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