Coke oven steel workers' case to be heard in court

Tata Steel's Port Talbot steelworks Image copyright Getty Images

Former British Steel coke oven workers who developed respiratory diseases will have their case heard in court.

Lawyers representing 325 former workers - 157 from Wales - who developed respiratory diseases secured a Group Litigation Order at the High Court on Thursday.

Claims date back from the 1940s until proper protection was given to workers.

A hearing date will now be set and a deadline for others affected to join.

Among the claimants are Welsh workers from sites including East Moors in Cardiff, Ebbw Vale, Llanwern, Port Talbot and Shotton, who claim they suffered illnesses after alleged exposure to harmful dust and fumes.

A Tata Steel spokesman said: "These claims arise from alleged exposure to dust and fumes during the course of employment mainly between the 1950s and 1980s at various coke ovens throughout England, Wales and Scotland.

"As the legal process is ongoing, we cannot comment further on the details of the claims at this time."

Kathryn Singh, partner at Hugh James, who is handling the Welsh claims, said it was an important step forward.

She added: "We would now urge anyone else who feels they were affected by the working conditions at coking plants in steelworks to come forward."