MAC: Mines and Communities

MPs slam firm over asbestos payout moves

Published by MAC on 2001-11-29

MPs slam firm over asbestos payout moves

(See also text of the second Early Day Motion on this issue)

Thursday 29th November 2001

Alexandra Wood

The former owners of Capper Pass, the world's largest tin smelting works, were condemned yesterday for trying to exclude asbestos-related diseases from a claims process to compensate its poisoned workers and their families.

An early day motion tabled in the House of Commons by North Hull MP Kevin Mcnamara, and signed by four other MPs, expressed "grave concern" that former Capper Pass workers and their families were still waiting for the scheme, set up by Rio Tinto 15 months ago, to get under way.

Suddenly in the final stages of negotiation, solicitors for the families were told asbestos-related diseases would be excluded - potentially preventing many from fully staking their claim.

Of the six cases now lodged before a board of experts sitting in London, asbestos was significant in three, said David Russell, who is acting for the families.

Many former workers at the factory, near Hull, have suffered from lung disease, in which asbestos had played a part. According to former workers asbestos was used in the roof cladding at the factory, and in shed walls.

When it got worn, employers were told to break it up and throw it into one of the blast furnaces or bury it on site, spreading potential contamination further.

Mr McNamara told the Yorkshire Post yesterday that various unkind inferences could be drawn from Rio Tinto "once again dragging its heels''.

He added: "The panel was raring to go and out of the blue they get this.

"A lot of the claims are for people who have already died and there are many who are ill.

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