UNISON, the UK's largest public sector trade union, has helped secure substantial compensation for the widow of a member who died from devastating disease mesothelioma.

Mrs Y who wishes to remain anonymous has received £276,000 in damages following her husband’s exposure to asbestos in the workplace.

Mr Y was exposed to the dust while working for W L Miller and Sons, a food manufacturer, based in Poole, Dorset. The firm is now known as Blackmoss Ltd.

He joined the company in 1968 as a trainee assistant production supervisor and left in 1991 as a production manager and was exposed to asbestos used to insulate pipes in the factory. He was never given protection from exposure to the dangerous dust.

Diagnosed with mesothelioma

Mrs Y said: “When my husband was diagnosed with mesothelioma he was determined to pursue compensation. He had already lost a former work colleague and friend to the disease and felt angry that he was ill through no fault of his own.

“I feel reassured that the case is settled as all he wanted was his employer to take responsibility and for his family to be provided for.”

UNISON Regional Secretary Ian Ducat said: “No amount of money could ever make up for the tragic loss of Mr Y. I am pleased that these damages will however offer some financial support.

“It should act as a strong warning to employers that they must ensure the safety of their workers. Our member didn’t work directly with asbestos but was never the less exposed to this dangerous dust during the early years of his employment.

“Mr Y was looking forward to a long and happy retirement but this was cut short by the devastating news he had a terminal disease.”

Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to Asbestos

Eamonn McDonough, legal representative at Thompson Solicitors, who dealt with the claim on behalf of UNISON added: “Mesothelioma is a painful and distressing illness for which there is no known cure.

“While compensation will never replace a loved one, we realise that many mesothelioma sufferers want to ensure their family are provided for financially. We are pleased that with the support of UNISON’s legal service we have been able to achieve this.”

Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos and many sufferers die within months of diagnosis. There is no cure for the disease, which can lie dormant for up to 40 years.