VICTIM of asbestos-related cancer has launched a high court legal battle against the government for compensation of up to £200,000.
David Parker (67) has developed malignant mesothelioma, a terminal cancer of the tissues surrounding his lungs, according to a high court writ.
It relates to his job as an executive officer at the Prestwich Unemployment Benefit Office in the Longfield, where he was exposed to deadly asbestos dust and fibres.
Now Mr Parker, of Prenton Way, Walshaw, Bury, is claiming damages from the secretary of state for work and pensions, whom he blames for his condition.
The writ says he developed mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos when he worked as a civil servant for the secretary of state's predecessors, the Ministry of Labour, between 1967 and 2000.
The office was subdivided with asbestos partitions, which were in poor condition, and between 1978 and 1984 the office underwent major refurbishment, when the partitions were demolished and false ceilings fitted, it is alleged.
Mr Parker says conditions were dreadful, and that it was very dusty, and that asbestos was released into the air as the partitions were demolished. Elsewhere in the building there was asbestos, on the boiler and pipework, and he thinks it likely that this too produced asbestos dust, which he inhaled.
At the end of the refurbishment work, he was given a letter on June 12, 1984, confirming that asbestos had been found inside the office, the writ claims.
It says that he became breathless in June 2006, and then developed chest pain. His condition of malignant mesothelioma was diagnosed in February 2007, and he is undergoing chemotherapy but the writ claims the disease is expected to cut his life short by around 14 years.
Mr Parker accuses the secretary of state of negligence and breach of statutory duty and says this caused his illness. He says there was a failure to provide a safe place or system of work, failure to warn him of the dangers of asbestos, and failure to keep his workplace properly ventilated.