22 September 2004
Unions Take Case to Government Over Compensation for Asbestos Victims
“The Council of Trade Unions will take up with Government the inadequacy of compensation for asbestos victims,” CTU president Ross Wilson said today.
“The James Hardie inquiry in Australia has raised serious questions about the adequacy of compensation under ACC in New Zealand for victims of asbestos and other occupational diseases,” he said.
If ACC succeeded in its appeal in the Lehmann case to deny asbestos victims of lump sum compensation, the ACC scheme would not meet the international minimum standards required by International Labour Organisation Convention 42.
“The ACC scheme then becomes nothing more than a shield to protect companies like James Hardie from common law liability for damages.”
Even if the Lehmann decision was confirmed, the Australian awards being discussed highlighted the relatively low level of lump sum compensation under ACC.
“It is unacceptable for ACC to breach international legal requirements by denying asbestos victims fair compensation.”
There were also issues which arose out of the failure of Government agencies to implement recommendations of the report of the 1991 Asbestos Advisory Committee, Ross Wilson said.