Workplace Report June 2007

Health & safety news

Former car workers win compensation battle

Workers struck down by a disease affecting their breathing have won the fight to lodge disability claims, following a long battle by the T&G general union (now part of the new union Unite).

Formerly employed by Powertrain at Rover's Longbridge plant in the West Midlands, the workers were left in legal limbo after mist from metalworking machines caused the world's biggest outbreak of occupational asthma in 2003.

A total of 87 workers were affected, 24 of whom went down with extrinsic allergic alveolitis - a disease not then recognised for compensation claims.

Now, however, the government has agreed to amend legislation so that the alveolitis sufferers can claim compensation.