Thousands of North East asbestos victims will be given the opportunity to vote on long awaited compensation pay outs this September.

A five-year compensation battle by former Washington Chemical Company workers will come to a close when they cast their votes this Autumn.

The workers, many of whom now suffer from mesothelioma, were exposed to deadly levels of asbestos every day during their working life.

More than 100 former employees have died while waiting for more than five years for their cash.

Parent company Federal Mogul went into administration in 2001, freezing all compensation payments.

But now they will finally get their money with some claims worth up to £100,000.

Offer of Compensation

This week claimants will receive a 500-page document from Federal Mogul administrators laying out terms of the latest offer.

People who receive the letter are being encouraged to get in touch with their trade union or their local asbestos victim support group to discuss how to fill out the voting form.

Some claimants will share a £36m cash pot allocated for asbestos compensation payments.

It is hoped that former employees and their families, who were exposed to asbestos after 1969 will receive more than 60% of their entitlement, compared to just 17% offered by Federal Mogul 18 months ago.

Claimants who did not work for the Washington Chemical Company but were exposed to asbestos because they lived near the factory are expected to receive 20% of their compensation.

If the company hadn't gone into administration, sufferers would have received 100% of their compensation.

Ian McFall, head of the asbestos team at Thompson Solicitors in Newcastle, who are advising hundreds of North East claimants said: “This is another step forward for asbestos victims who have been waiting years to be paid compensation for their illnesses. If claimants vote in favour of this scheme they could be receiving their payouts in months.

“We would urge anyone who receives documentation from the administrators to contact their local asbestos victim support group or trade union straight away.”