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Agony goes on.

Byline: By Gayle Tomlinson

Former shipyard workers face new hurdle in pay-out bid

Hundreds of former shipyard workers stricken by an asbestos-related illness face a new fight in their campaign to win pay-outs.

Insurance giants Norwich Union and Zurich are appealing against a court ruling that insurers should pay out for people with pleural plaques, a scarring of the lung lining caused by exposure to asbestos.

The case safeguarded compensation for the North East workers who have been affected by exposure to asbestos.

The condition does not have any symptoms but shows the increased risk of sufferers going on to develop fatal conditions like mesothelioma or asbestosis.

Engineer Ken Johnson, 58, of Deneway, Rowlands Gill, was one of 10 Amicus union members involved in the test case.

Now he faces a new battle in court with the case going to the Court of Appeal.

He said: "It is frustrating. We go through all this and we finally get to the finishing line and it is dragged up again.

"They should be happy with the judgement. They got the payments reduced. They just want to go on and on and it is agony for the people involved."

Norwich Union said it would appeal against the judge's decision because it believed pay-outs for asbestos exposure were still too high.

The Government, which is liable for asbestos claims involving the formerly state-run shipbuilding industry, said it would not appeal against the ruling.

In the past three years, British Shipbuilders, which is liable for yards including Middle Docks and Brigham and Cowan, both in South Tyneside, has paid out pounds 4.5m in compensation for 691 pleural plaques cases. The cases amount to 73% of the former shipyard employers' total asbestos claims and the payments are 40% of the company's total compensation pay-outs.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 17, 2005
Words:299
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