In the December issue of the Yorkshire Reporter I wrote of the danger of asbestos and the Mesothelioma Bill that is currently being discussed in Parliament.

Thousands of cancer sufferers exposed to asbestos are expected to receive payouts over the next few years, but families of victims of Mesothelioma argue that the compensation package is not enough and that many will die before they get their money. Thousands of victims are unable to chase former employers because symptoms of Mesothelioma appear years later.

A group of us recently visited Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves, whose constituency covers Armley, where the J W Roberts asbestos factory was situated. Ms Reeves was supportive and would argue for a ‘compromised solution’ so that victims could be compensated as quickly as possible.

The following quote is from Armley Councillor, Alison Lowe:

“Armley has been blighted by the curse of asbestos for many years. I hope the inspirational campaigns of Armley people will show the world that we will always stand up to injustice and that we will win”.

It has also been revealed that teachers have been warned not to expose children to wartime gas masks as some contain asbestos. Concern has been expressed that these old masks issued to soldiers could become a popular aid to teachers during this year’s centenary of the First World War. These masks should be tested for asbestos and if they test positive should not be used at all.

Asbestos in Schools

The GMB Union is extremely concerned about asbestos in Schools. Of the 14,210 schools built between 1945 and 1975, the Department for Education estimate that more than 75% contain asbestos. There is no threshold dose of asbestos below which there is no risk.

We are visiting schools all around Yorkshire making our members aware of the risks, providing them with a checklist in order to help them avoid exposure and also registering with our solicitors anybody who believes they could have come into contact with fibres.

Every time asbestos is removed there is obvious risk. Many maintenance activities, broken ceiling tiles, cracked plates on wall pipes and ovens, or even holes in walls all pose significant dangers.

Bill Chard, GMB Lead School Officer

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