A Unite the Union member has received compensation from six of his former employers after he was diagnosed with asbestosis.

The 79-year-old, who lives in Ross Shire was exposed to asbestos while working as an apprentice gas fitter and then for several North West-based shipyards.

He was first exposed to asbestos when he was a 16-year-old apprentice gas fitter in 1949. He gained his qualification and over the years worked for a number of firms as a gas fitter, plumber and shipyard worker.

He was diagnosed with asbestosis in 2008 after suffering from breathing difficulties. The debilitating disease often leaves sufferers breathless and with limited mobility

Instructed Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation

He contacted his trade union, Unite the Union. Unite Legal Services instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation.

Thompsons proved he was negligently exposed to asbestos working for six different employers between 1949 and 1971.

None of the employers had provided appropriate protection against asbestos or warned him about the dangers to his health.

He said: “I knew I was breathing in asbestos all those years ago but had no idea just how dangerous it was at the time. When I was told I had asbestosis I knew straight away that it had been caused by my former employers.

“It has left me breathless and it is getting worse as time goes on. I felt it was important to prove that the employers were to blame, I am pleased my case has been successful.”

Provide free legal services to our members who develop an asbestos related disease

Mick Whitley, Regional Secretary at Unite the Union added: “Sadly many of our members were negligently exposed to asbestos in the workplace. As a trade union we provide free legal services to our members and will support all those who develop an asbestos related disease as a result of their employer’s failure to protect them from the known dangers of asbestos.”

Roberta Pyle from Thompsons Solicitors said: “My client has been left with a disability because of his employers failure to protect him from exposure to asbestos dust. The compensation he obtained with the support of his union will help him financially as well as recognising that his employers have been held to account.”