Union Wins Case for Miners

Article excerpt

Byline: Madeleine Brindley

THE Government faces a pounds 250m benefits payout to workers with vibration white finger after the High Court ordered it to scrap a controversial test used to assess claims.

In a landmark case that will open the door to thousands of men and women affected by the debilitating condition, Secretary of State Andrew Smith was last night ordered to rethink the way claims for industrial injuries disablement benefits are assessed.

The judge said there was ``a real danger that examining doctors were misapplying the test and it was unreasonable and therefore unlawful for the Secretary of State not to issue clear guidance.''

Mining union Nacods South Wales, which brought the action against the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), called the decision a victory not only for miners denied such compensation but also for steelworkers, ship builders and the construction and engineering industries.

Last night's judgment ends a two-year judicial review into why miners with vibration white finger, who had successfully claimed compensation for their injuries through the Department of Trade and Industry scheme, were being turned down for statutory benefits for the same condition by the DWP using the controversial cold water provocation test which involved the immersion of hands into ice-cold water in an attempt to reproduce the blanching characteristic appearance of white finger. …