Caped defenders of justice take on Cape offenders of justice
On Friday 30 September at 1pm a demonstration will be held outside the head offices of Cape Industrial Services, a subsidiary of the Altrad multinational corporation. Members and supporters of the Asbestos Victims Support Groups’ Forum UK will be dressed as Caped Defenders of Justice. We will be demanding that Cape Intermediate Holdings Ltd pays £10 million towards medical research into a cure for mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a cancer caused almost exclusively by exposure to asbestos. Cape played a central role in causing thousands of needless deaths from the sale of asbestos products from which they profited.
Why we are targetting Cape
The National Asbestos Victims Support Groups’ Forum UK won an historic legal victory which proved Cape intentionally withheld evidence about the risks of exposure to asbestos from their products. One of them was Asbestolux, which is an asbestos insulation board used widely in many buildings including hospitals and schools. The Supreme Court granted access to documents which are now publicly available.
Joanne Gordon, Chair of the Forum explains, “Thanks to the Forum’s case against Cape many victims who may have previously been denied compensation will have a greater chance of justice. This is because the evidence contained in these documents is now freely available. That’s a modern day superhero story.”
Cross Party Support from MPs
The campaign has received cross party support from 36 MPs so far. However, the directors of Cape and its parent company are yet to respond to several letters. Most notably, Lord Desai, a Labour peer in the House of Lords, and former Labour MP for Gravesham, Chris Pond. Both sit as directors of a Cape subsidiary called Cape Claims Services Ltd.
How to join the demonstration at Appleton Thorn in Warrington
Due to the lack of response, we will be demonstrating outside the offices of Cape Industrial Services and Cape’s parent company Altrad. These are at Units 6 – 7 Lyncastle Way on the Appleton Thorn Trading Estate near Warrington (WA4 4ST). Some of the demonstrators will be dressed as Caped defenders of justice.
Neil Bishop, the manager of Asbestos Support Central England, says, “A minibus will be going from our offices in Digbeth, Birmingham. Other people are making their own way to Warrington by car or public transport. Please contact us by email or on our helpline if you would like to join us.”
Why Cape should pay £10 million towards medical research
Joanne says, “We need to find a cure for mesothelioma. It’s a devastating disease. It is caused by asbestos and Cape can afford to pay for vital research. Parodying their name we are taking to the streets as superheroes to fight for mesothelioma victims. We are demanding £10 million to help find a cure.”
Many of those who access the services of asbestos support groups worked either in Cape’s asbestos factories or with products like Asbestolux. One former joiner with an asbestos related disease says, “No one said Asbestolux was dangerous. I went home covered in it every time I used it . . . and what’s more, I used to travel home on public transport!’’
The wife of a man who worked at Cape’s factories in Hebden Bridge says, ’’He was a young man, with a young family. He moved to Hebden Bridge to support his family. He was given no support, no mask, no nothing.’’
Cape put no value on human life
These accounts, and many more like them, show the sheer lack of respect Cape showed for human lives. Despite a total ban on asbestos products in 1999, there were 2,544 deaths from mesothelioma in 2020. Asbestos related injuries are still the UK’s biggest workplace killer. This is due to a latency period between exposure and the onset of an asbestos related illness. This is typically between 10 and 60 years. Cape’s refusal to voluntarily disclose their documents and to place them into the public domain continues to devastate lives.
Whilst the £10million we demand does not compare to the vast profits Cape recorded while their employees were knowingly exposed to life-threatening asbestos fibres – it may well provide a lifeline to those who suffer from mesothelioma in the future.
For more information
Names have been withheld but service users can be contacted through Joanne Gordon on 07805 382312 Or email: email@example.com
Photo by Massimo Virgilio on Unsplash