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They say that they are grateful for the GWU which was there for them

Former shipyard workers sickened by asbestos continue to be compensated

In recent days, compensation payments have continued to former shipyard workers who suffered health damages because they were exposed to asbestos in their work for a long time.

These payments were made in the building of the General Workers’ Union, which has worked hard to ensure that this justice is served. The compensation cases were handled by Jesmond Marshall, secretary of the GWU Metal and Construction Section.

Several discussions were held with the government to achieve this process. I can say that both the Ministry of Finance and the Prime Minister’s Office have welcomed the union’s demand, so much so that it was announced in the 2021 budget that the former shipyard workers who were sickened by asbestos would be compensated,” Mr. Marshall said.

He went on to say that in recent weeks there have also been cases of workers who have died as a result of asbestos, and that their relatives will therefore receive compensation.

Meanwhile, this website spoke with two former shipyard workers who told us about their experiences, what they went through when they were exposed to asbestos, and what the compensation they were entitled to meant.

“Without GWU, it wouldn’t have occurred to him to file a claim”

Vince Cachia, 75, said he joined the shipyard in 1964 as an apprentice, where he started as an assembler and worked for 44 years. “My job always consisted of machinery, turbines, boilers… Back then, there was asbestos everywhere, which we could live with just fine,” Cachia said.

“Also, to open a turbine, you have to break up the asbestos. Before you break it all up, you have to clean everywhere. Back then, people did not know enough about the dangers of asbestos, even from a health standpoint.”

Cachia went on to say that for him, “thank God it was not GWU,” because otherwise it would not have occurred to him to apply for compensation after being exposed to all of this. “We were also advised by the Ministry of Finance in terms of compensation, because if the process ends up in court, you do not know when it will end.”

Frans Scicluna, who is 73, said that like Cachia, he came to the shipyard as an assembler and worked there for a total of 42 years. “We worked in engine rooms where everything was covered with asbestos,” he said

“We did not know anything about asbestos … it can be deadly”

“Besides not knowing what asbestos does and does not do, we lived with it a lot, it must be broken. Asbestos stays in your veins, and it can even be deadly because it stays in you. Three years ago, I had cancer, I was lucky to get rid of it. I thank God that I am not bad now,” said Scicluna, who mentioned that the CT scan always showed him that he had been exposed to asbestos for a long time.

“I went to GWU, which welcomed us and told us there was this compensation. Thank you to this government, we had the opportunity to apply. We waited, and finally we got something that, if we can not undo the things, we have inside us, at least we got compensation that everyone can enjoy,” Scicluna concluded.