Press Release by the Ministry for Social Justice and Solidarity, the Family and Children’s Rights and the Ministry for Finance and Employment: Social Justice to the Malta Drydocks ex-employees who suffered from Asbestosis condition
Reference Number: PR211841
49 Malta Drydocks ex-employees were among the first to be provided with compensation cheques after having suffered from Asbestosis condition. These details were announced during a news conference by Ministers Michael Falzon and Clyde Caruana. Among those present, there were some of the Malta Drydocks ex-employees and their relatives.
Minister Clyde Caruana stated that, “This government has always been, still is and will remain close to the worker. The government is aware that the damage that has occurred to these workers’ health cannot be repaired, however the government is recognising that which has occurred in the past, where the least that can be done on it’s behalf is that financial compensation is granted”. He explained that the amounts given out vary between €5,800 and €16,600, with the highest amounts being granted to those individuals who were the most adversely affected by this condition.
Minister Caruana said that during the last months, the ministry had appointed 4 medical doctors, who evaluated in detail each and every case, so that the amounts given out could be justified. He explained that this compensation had been granted on three criteria : the severity of the disability created, the duration in terms of the amount of years during which one had been ill, as well as the age at which the person had died, in those cases where the compensation is to be given to the heirs respectively.
The minister stated that out of the 300 applications that were submitted, 200 of them belonged to persons who are no longer with us. In this case, the process will establish who are the heirs of these ex-employees, so that they are able to obtain their fathers’ recognition. The minister concluded that there are still people who have not applied thus far, and therefore the applications will reopen next November.
Minister Michael Falzon said that this exercise is another one amongst many in the last years of Labour administration, which continues to provide assurance to the people that there is someone paying attention to them. This is even if in this specific case 50 years have passed. Minister Falzon referred to another promise which had been carried out amongst the corps workers who suffered from injustices in the past.
“Today’s occasion was not one of celebration, but more one of recognition. As a government we are recognising that which was suffered through, and that which is still being undergone, by Malta Drydocks ex-employees and their relatives.Although at that time, nobody was aware of the effects of asbestos, we still felt the need that justice should be carried out on our behalf with these families. Therefore, the Labour government is the government for social justice, the government of the social collective”, concluded Minister Falzon.