Our fight for justice

by Tony Cipullo

Our fight for justice

by Tony Cipullo
on 25th July 2016
pledged of £20,000 target from 24 pledges

Monday 25th July 2016 - Thank you for your offer of financial assistance for which we are enormously grateful. However, we have now obtained financial backing for the entire amount from one source, so we will not require to take your donation. Thank you again.

Hello, our names are Waynsworth, Tony and Simon.

We all worked for Johnson Matthey Plc for many years, in factories where they used some dangerous chemicals. The company was supposed to protect us by keeping the factory clean, but they failed to do so. As a result, we became ‘sensitised’, which meant that we couldn’t work there anymore, and so we were all sacked.

We had unfairly lost our livelihoods and so we took our case to court. Our case was heard in the High Court in November 2014 and Johnson Matthey won – they accepted that they negligently exposed us to dangerous chemicals but refused to pay our lost wages because we were not ‘injured’. Now we wish to appeal this decision to the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land. Our legal team believe that we have a strong and just case to win.

This case is highly significant because if we do not win, other employers may use this case to sidestep their responsibilities with regards to health and safety, and negligently expose other employees to hazardous work conditions without any responsibility to provide compensation.

For our case to be heard in the Supreme Court, we need to raise £20,000 to cover legal costs. We cannot afford this by ourselves and so we are asking for your support.

Our individual stories 

Waynsworth Dryden  

I am 59 years old, a devoted family man with a wife, a daughter at university and a son who will be doing "A" level exams in 2017. I had a wonderful job as a Chemical Process Operator at Johnson Matthey that fulfilled my financial, social and educational needs and development. We now live in an era where people change jobs frequently, but that wasn’t me. I saw a future with this company to my retirement age.

 In January 2009, my world crumbled like a building demolished by an earthquake. My job was untimely ripped from me when I was made redundant, all because I had become sensitised to materials that I had to work with. I had followed the Health and Safety rules and always used my personal protective devices and yet still I became sensitised. 

 All attempts to find alternative employment within the company failed. My search for employment in the harsh economic climate at the time was challenging and it took me one year to find employment. I had to resign from that job after a year due to the distances I had to travel and the time I was away from home. This was important because my wife had a car accident, which caused her to be unable to carry on with her day to day life without my help. I have not been successful in obtaining employment since 2012. My constant search each day has left me depressed and absolutely frustrated.

 I am reaching out to you, in my hour of need, because I do not have the resources to do it on my own. I need your assistance to help to take my case to the Supreme Court because sensitisation has caused me pain, suffering and financial loss. 

Tony Cipullo

I am 42 and a father of three children and live in North London. I started to work for Johnson Matthey as an operator and worked my way up to Team Leader. I also became Site Secretary for the Trade Union. I always showed a willingness to learn, and would have picked up any type of work they offered me. I believe that the work I did for the Trade Union and other employees was the main reason Johnson Matthey refused to find me an alternative position when I was diagnosed with the sensitisation to platinum salts. 

 Since leaving, my wife has had to return to full time employment and my kids are looked after by friends as we cannot afford child care. The kids have not had a proper holiday in 5 years, and the youngest is too young to remember the holiday. 

 The situation has left me depressed that I can no longer provide for my family. The children understand that I cannot afford to send them on school trips, buy them toys or take them on holiday, but it still eats me inside. 

 The loss, of not only a good wage, but a really fantastic job I loved, has had a devastating effect on me. 

Simon York 

I'm 46 and have 3 wonderful children. I started work for Johnson Matthey in 2008 where I earned a good wage for a skilled position in the platinum area. This wage would have allowed me to buy a home large enough to house my growing family.

 However, I was diagnosed with platinum allergy and my world fell apart.

 By this point, we had another little one on the way and we were half way through moving home. This was an extremely stressful time in all of our lives and, with the whole country in recession, finding a job was impossible, let alone a well-paid one. The whole family has suffered as a result of me losing my job, not just me. I am now working 6 days a week, which means I miss out on quality family time, outings and events, and I am struggling financially. 

Fast facts

  • The right to claim compensation for injury/sickness cause by employer.
  • Next step is Supreme Court - date to be confirmed.
  • Our lawyer is Harminder Bains, Partner at Leigh Day.
  • Our barristers are Robert Weir QC, Harry Steinberg QC and Patrick Kerr of Devereux Chambers and 12 King's Bench Walk respectively. 

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