Northern English unions have won millions of pounds for victims of deadly asbestos, the TUC said today.
Since September they have won one-off payments totalling more than £300,000 and monthly benefits of £105,000 for workers and families whose lives been wrecked by asbestos exposure.
The Newcastle-based Northern TUC joined forces with Macmillan Cancer Support, regional unions and a Wallsend community centre to advise asbestos victims and help them claim statutory benefits such as industrial compensation.
Asbestos causes debilitating, life-threatening and fatal illnesses including mesothelioma, an incurable lung cancer that kills more than 2,000 people a year in Britain.
Mesothelioma can take over 50 years to show itself and sufferers usually die within two years of diagnosis.
Asbestos was widely used in construction, car-making and shipbuilding.
The link between asbestos and lung ailments was first reported by the Factory Inspectorate in the 1890s but it wasn't banned in Europe until the 1980s. It is still used in developing countries.
The advice group works out of Wallsend Memorial Hall and People's Centre in North Tyneside.
Two dedicated workers cover a region stretching from Northumberland to the Tees Valley and Cumbria, liaising with health professionals, unions, law firms, Macmillan and welfare rights staff. They visit, advise and help victims at home.
Benefits won include workers' compensation scheme payments, industrial injuries disablement benefit, attendance allowance and carers' allowance for day-to-day care of victims.
Northern TUC regional secretary Kevin Rowan said: "This is a huge, life-changing amount of money going to help the people who need it most, and as an added benefit it will be recycled into the local economy providing a win-win situation for the welfare of workers and the region as a whole."
Macmillan north-east development manager Stephen Guy hailed the scheme's success and said: "It is only correct that people who have suffered have their right to state benefits and compensation protected and maximised."
If you appreciated this article then please consider donating to the Morning Star's Fighting Fund to ensure we can keep developing your paper.
Lord Feldman says that he didn't call grassroots Tories "mad swivel-eyed loons" while his accusers stand by their stories that he did.
As Aslef's annual assembly of delegates begins in Edinburgh tomorrow the general secretary explains the challenges his members - and workers across the country - face
France is the latest to face clamour from the EU to enforce crippling 'structural reforms.' The medicine is killing the patient