The trade union Unite has assisted in recovering damages for a member diagnosed with an asbestos related disease.

Power station worker Clifford King, 85, from Newark in Nottinghamshire was diagnosed with asbestosis, with a 20% disability, in 2008 after suffering from a chest infection.

Investigations by Unite's lawyers Thompsons Solicitors proved he was negligently exposed to asbestos working for CEGB at Littlebrook Power Station between 1951 and 1983.

Mr King said the condition has left him breathless and unable to do the gardening and other jobs around the house.

Exposed to asbestos by employer

He worked for CEGB, now owned by RWE Npower PLC, for more than 32 years in a variety of roles. He remembers being exposed to asbestos on a regular basis but was not warned of the dangers or given any protection.

Following his diagnosis Mr King, who has two sons and two grandchildren, contacted his union Unite which instructed asbestos compensation specialists Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim.

Thompsons finalised the claim within 10 months.

Mr King said: “When the doctor told me I had asbestos in both lungs I was angry about the way my employer had gambled with my health. When I found out I could claim compensation I was determined to pursue it.”

Asbestosis can be a debilitating progressive disease

Unite regional secretary Adrian Axtell said: “We are pleased we have been able to assist our member to obtain compensation.

“Asbestosis can be a debilitating progressive disease which could have been avoided if employers had adopted a more responsible attitude towards workplace health and safety. We will continue to fight for full and prompt compensation for our members who have been harmed by negligent employers.”

David Fisher from Thompsons Solicitors added: “Asbestosis is a crippling respiratory disease caused by prolonged or heavy doses of asbestos exposure.

It was possible to bring Mr King’s compensation claim to a successful conclusion quickly and efficiently because of the free specialist support he received through contacting his trade union.”