Medway Trades Council has teamed up with union solicitors Thompsons and law firm Rowley Ashworth to step up the fight for compensation for all mesothelioma sufferers. A conference on 4th October at Rochester Visitors Centre will bring together unions, legal experts and asbestos victims to highlight the growing incidence of the disease in the Towns, and to give advice about the best way of claiming compensation.

The meeting has been called to counter what the unions refer to as “claims farmers”.

“We’ve all seen them with their clip boards in Chatham and Gillingham High Streets asking whether you’ve ever worked at the Dockyard,” says GMB Representative Mick Laws. “They are targeting the Medway Towns as an asbestos blackspot so they can cash in on a percentage of the compensation. What many people don’t realise is that their Trade Union can get a far better deal for them at little or no cost.”

Whilst welcoming the decision of the Government to reverse the effects of a recent Law Lords decision which would have deprived hundreds of victims of asbestos and their dependents from full compensation, the unions say there are still more battles ahead. Trades Council spokesman, Chas Berry, says:

“The numbers affected by the disease is set to double over the next 5 years. We are sitting on a time bomb, but securing the future is more than just about compensation for past mistakes. We want safe workplaces for the next generation, and that means making our employers accountable for the safety of their staff right now. Becoming active in a union is the best way of safeguarding your future."