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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 February, 2005, 12:50 GMT
'Aberfan trauma' case settled
Janice Evans
Imperial Tobacco denied unfairly sacking Mrs Evans
A tobacco company has paid 2,000 to a worker who claimed she had been unfairly sacked after refusing night shifts because it led to flashbacks of the Aberfan disaster.

Janice Evans, 52, from Treharris, turned down night work at the Rizla cigarette paper factory in Treforest.

She said she suffered flashbacks to when she was 13 and was saved from the tip tragedy after becoming trapped.

Imperial Tobacco said it had not admitted liability with the settlement.

Mrs Evans' case was settled on the advice of her solicitors before it came before an employment tribunal.

The terms of the settlement include a confidentiality clause which prevents her from discussing it.

But her husband Roger, also 52, called the figure "a disgrace".

He said: "Is that all her 30 years of service for them is worth? If she had been made redundant she would have received in the order of 9,000."

On the day of the Aberfan disaster in October 1966, Janice was 13 and walking to the senior school in the village, when she was buried up to her waist in coal slurry.

I had nightmares and couldn't eat or sleep. I just could not go on working nights
Janice Evans

She was pulled free by rescuers but one of the friends she had been walking with died.

The coal tip buried Pant Glas Junior School in the village, killing 116 pupils and 32 adults.

Ever since the disaster Mrs Evans has been haunted by nightmares which worsen around the anniversary of the disaster.

She had been told last February that she would have to work nights at the Rizla factory near Pontypridd.

But she told bosses that she could not work nights because of the trauma of Aberfan.

Confidential

Before the case was settled, Mrs Evans said: "I tried the night shift for six months but it was an absolute misery.

"I had nightmares and couldn't eat or sleep. I just could not go on working nights."

Rescuers at Aberfan
In total, 144 people died in the Aberfan disaster
She added that she had not taken a day off work sick until she was asked to work nights.

Mrs Evans, who earned 350 a week, was backed by the General and Municipal Workers' union in her claim against Rizla's parent company Imperial Tobacco.

Mr Evans, a supermarket worker, added: "We were fully prepared to go to the tribunal and fight Janice's case. Our solicitors advised us to settle out of court because apparently two of our witnesses had decided not to give evidence."

Her solicitor Richard Steer said: "I can't talk about the case except to say the settlement was with the agreement of both parties."

Rizla had denied that she was unfairly sacked.

Imperial Tobacco spokesman Simon Evans said: "The matter has been settled out of court and the terms are confidential.

"But there has been no admission of liability on the part of the company."


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