Family of Wakefield Unite member compensated after asbestos death

The family of one of our members from Yorkshire turned to Unite Legal Services for guidance after his death from an asbestos-related disease.

The Unite member worked for a local manufacturer from 1941 until retirement in 1988. He initially joined on an apprenticeship, before becoming a qualified fitter. Towards the end of his career he took a role as a foreman at the factory.

Throughout his career he was exposed to asbestos in the fitting shop, where he would accidentally disturb and breathe in the dust used to lag mechanical parts, including brake linings and clutch discs.

Years after retirement, the member was diagnosed with mesothelioma, leaving him with significant breathing difficulties and in pain. Nine months after his diagnosis, the member sadly died.

His daughter said: “Dad was a keen gardener and loved to do DIY around his house. This all changed within months of his diagnosis and he was hardly even able to walk. Now that I’m helping out mum around the house, I’ve begun to appreciate just how much work my dad did and how much this disease took away from him.”

Karen Reay, North East, Yorkshire and Humberside regional secretary at Unite the Union, said: “Almost half a century of negligence by our member’s employer left him suffering from this disease. His family were devastated by his loss and turned to our legal team for answers. By supporting the family’s investigation into a legal claim, they were able to understand why this happened in the first place.”