Sanctuary refuses to meet UCATT after six members are exposed to asbestos

asbestosUCATT has accused a building firm of a cover-up after six members working in a property in Bicester were exposed to asbestos.

The workers, employed by Sanctuary Maintenance Contractors Ltd, were instructed to undertake work on an empty Sanctuary home in the Oxfordshire town. They asked management whether asbestos was present in the property and were assured it was not.

But when they removed the ceiling, UCATT understands that not only were they exposed to asbestos, but that Sanctuary’s records indicated that there was asbestos present in the property’s ceiling but the workers did not receive this information.

Following the exposure the workers were requested to make statements about what had occurred and became increasingly alarmed that the company sought to change and alter what they had said about the exposure to asbestos.

Since the exposure occurred a separate private company has been undertaking work on the affected property, however their remains concerns that the disturbed asbestos has not been thoroughly removed from the property.

UCATT has sought a meeting with Sanctuary Maintenance Contractors Ltd to receive reassurances from management that such needless exposure will not re-occur but the company has refused to meet the union.

UCATT regional organiser Paul Lomax said: “The company’s performance has been lamentable. Workers have been needlessly exposed to asbestos. Rather than ensuring this never happens again the company are literally trying to sweep the entire matter under the carpet.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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