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Union secures ‘record’ payouts

Record compensation figures were paid out last year in legal cases taken by Northern Ireland's biggest trade union, it has been claimed.

Lawyers representing NIPSA members said more than £1 million was secured in damages and other settlements over the past 12 months.

Around half of the compensation was for personal injury claims from road traffic incidents and other accidents in public places.

Contractual disputes, breach of contract issues, industrial tribunals and even a patent case also contributed to the total.

One major factor was stress-related incidents, according to Vivian Harty, a partner with McCartan Turkington Breen solicitors.

Mr Harty said: “It's been a record year in a harsh economic climate.

“NIPSA members have recovered a lot in damages cases resulting from stressful situations in work.

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“People often don't realise they are entitled to claim damages when they have been injured in work.”

NIPSA said it has won tens of millions of pounds in compensation through a Legal Assistance (Personal Injury) Scheme it has operated for more than 30 years.

The public service union stressed most members were not entitled to legal aid or other funding, and would otherwise face prohibitive costs in bringing litigation.

Spokesman Bumper Graham said: “It is important to provide such services over and above the representations and negotiations on behalf of members.

“Our data shows that over 50% of the awards relate directly to injuries in the workplace and this therefore demonstrates the value of NIPSA membership.”

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