2023-09-19 14:45

banner unionsafete

Merseyside Asbestos Campaigners In Paris Protest Against Altrad

Merseyside campaigners on asbestos protested outside the New Zealand v France International Rugby match to protest about the refusal by Altrad, the teams’ main sponsor, refusing to fund research into mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung caused by asbestos.

The Asbestos Victims Support Group Forum UK and the French victims Group, ANDEVA organised the protest after negotiations with Altrad broke down. The company bought Cape International Holdings Pte Ltd, formerly known as Cape Asbestos in 2017 and took on its liabilities.

During negotiations with the Forum it refused to donate £10 million towards finding better treatment and eventually a cure for mesothelioma. The disease and other asbestos related conditions cause up to 7,000 deaths per year in the UK and has the highest levels of mesothelioma in the world. 

John Flanagan, Support Officer for the Merseyside Asbestos Victims Support Group said:

“I believe it’s most regretful that Altrad, a multibillion-pound conglomerate felt it could not make this extremely modest donation given the facts uncovered in the case.”
He added:

“I just cannot understand why an organisation such as Altrad are unwilling to help support research into a terminal cancer. I have seen far too many people suffer from the horrible consequences of asbestos exposure and the terrible impact it has on their quality of life.

Mesothelioma is a horrible, horrible disease and anyone who had a heart and the money that Altrad possess would want to support ways to find a cure. I have lost many friends over the years to this terrible disease and I through my work with the Merseyside Asbestos Victims Support Group I have supported many victims too.

We need to find a cure for this disease and I honestly believe that Altrad have a moral obligation to help support the research into finding a cure. I hope that Altrad will reconsider their decision and look at the bigger picture and see what their financial support could do and how many lives it could save.”

The request for funding has come after the legal case which the Forum brought against Cape. The Forum was successful in the UK Supreme Court when the Court allowed the Forum to have access to Cape’s historical documents which proved, amongst other things, that Cape knew that its Asbestos Insulation Board (trade name Asbestolux) released asbestos fibres simply by being handled.

The documents also showed that Cape intentionally prevented warning labels from being put on Asbestolux and that it lobbied the government and other companies from doing so. The deadly asbestos fibres released from asbestolux can cause deadly lung cancer, including mesothelioma.

Rob Rayner, Chair of AVSGF said:

“Cape’s asbestos products are responsible for many deaths. Altrad has a moral obligation to put right some of the wrong that has been done. Until Altrad do the right thing, they should not be given any more taxpayer’s money.

Altrad is a global brand, and a major sponsor of the French and New Zealand rugby teams. It beggars’ belief that they cannot find £10 million towards mesothelioma research”.

Harminder Bains, the lawyer who acted for the Forum in the court case said:

“Having fought on the Forum’s behalf for several years to secure access to these hugely important documents I felt revulsion and anger when I finally read through the documents to provide the summary of the key points. They clearly show that Cape knew of the high risk of fatal disease, yet deliberately withheld information and lobbied the Government to protect their profits. As a result of their greed many men and women, including my father have lost their lives.

In addition, Cape and Concept 70 sought to prevent these documents from coming into the public domain by agreeing to their imminent destruction. This cover up would not have come to the light had it not been for the Forum’s persistence.

Access to Justice would have continued to be denied if it were not for the fact that Counsel namely Robert Weir QC and Jonathan Butters and I were prepared to deal with the case pro-bono. There must be numerous other similar instances, where potential claimants are unable to obtain pro-bono legal representation hence corporations such as Cape escape justice”.

Rob Rayner, Chair of the Asbestos Victims Support Group Forum said:

“Cape’s asbestos products are responsible for many deaths. As Cape’s parent company, Altrad has a moral obligation to put right some of the wrong that has been done. Altrad is a global brand, and a major sponsor of the French and New Zealand ruby teams. It is incomprehensible that they cannot find £10 million for mesothelioma research. In the eyes of asbestos victims, Altrad’s sponsorship of the French and New Zealand rugby teams is an insult, both to the sport and to the fans”.

You can watch the event Press Conference in Paris, via the Facebook page of the Asbestos Victims Support Group Forum, by clicking on the image below. Video from Unionsafety website reports can also be viewed on that page.


See Also: Cape Must Pay Demand Asbestos Victims Support Groups

Documentation on asbestos related illness is available in the E-Library here

Pic: Bak to News icon link

Designed, Hosted and Maintained by Union Safety Services