Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, which represents thousands of cabin crew, is demanding airlines take immediate action to stop aerotoxic fume events occurring during flights.
Unite, which is taking several major airlines to court as a result of members suffering severe health effects due to being exposed to toxic air, made the call after the dangers to pilots and cabin crew were highlighted in a File on Four programme which aired at 20:00 on Tuesday 25 February.
Unite has a growing number of members, employed by airlines, whose health has been damaged to varying degrees as a result of being frequently exposed to toxic air during fume events on flights.
The groundbreaking legal action Unite is taking on their behalf is expected to be heard in the high court in 2021.
Unite has got over 200 cases, which are at various legal stages and cover eight airlines.
Unite assistant general secretary for legal services Howard Beckett said: “The airlines have got to stop buck passing and take immediate measures to stop toxic air flooding into cabins and cockpits.
“Airline staff are having their health damaged by being exposed to fume events and many have been forced out of the industry as a result.
“These injuries can result in life changing neurological symptoms with immunity systems irreparably damaged. In extreme cases these poisonous toxins have been found in staff post mortem.
“While Unite has launched legal action this can’t be the end of the matter. Airlines have to take responsibility for the health and wellbeing of their staff and customers and install filters and other measures to prevent future fume events with immediate effect.”
Unite is holding a health and safety conference for members who have been affected and are concerned about the effects of toxic air. It is anticipated that the conference will be a launchpad for the next stages of the campaign.