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The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) is encouraging people who worked at Ballarat’s FMP factory to register with lawyers if they are concerned about asbestos-related illnesses.
The brake and clutch manufacturer was formerly known as Bendix.
The AMWU’s Ballarat-based organiser, Colin Muir, says it is wise for former employees to sign up to asbestos registers, in case they develop illnesses in the coming decades.
He says the company was one of the last to stop using asbestos, ending its use in the early 2000s.
“The main history locally in Ballarat was at FMP where FMP for many years used asbestos as part of their brake and clutch material,” he said.
“I was a shop steward at FMP before I was working full-time for the union and absolutely worked with asbestos on a day-to-day basis.
“There was always long-term concerns about any exposure of workers to asbestos and … FMP was one of the last, if not the last, company in Australia to use asbestos, so obviously there were concerns but that was part of the reason why asbestos was no longer used, certainly it was concerns raised by unions.”