A SURVIVOR of the Aberfan disaster who still suffers night-time flashbacks of the tragedy is taking legal action, claiming she was sacked for refusing to work late shifts.
Janice Evans says she was fired when she turned down night shifts because of her traumatic flashbacks of the disaster 38 years ago, which killed 144 people.
Janice was just 13 when a black tide of coal waste buried the school, killing 116 pupils and 28 adults in her home village.
She was walking to the senior school when the mountain of slurry smashed through the classrooms.
It killed one of her friends who had been walking with her, but Janice escaped.
The avalanche trapped her up to the waist but she was pulled free by rescuers.
Ever since the disaster in October 1966, she has been haunted by nightmares.
Now Janice, 52, is being backed by her union in taking her company to an employment tribunal claiming unfair dismissal.
Mother-of-five Janice said, "I tried working nights 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."
Janice had worked at the Rizla cigarette paper factory at Treforest near Pontypridd, Rhondda Cynon Taf, for 30 years before she was told last February that she would have to work nights.
She told her managers that she could not work nights because of the trauma of Aberfan.
Janice has rarely spoken about her ordeal throughout 34 years of marriage to husband Roger, also 52.
One flashback came when the children were young and she and Roger took the family for a day's outing on the Brecon Beacons.
Suddenly an RAF jet on exercises flashed over their heads with a huge roar.
Janice reacted in terror pulling the children down behind a rock and telling Roger, "That noise was the same as the sound made by the avalanche."
She said, "I bottled it all up inside me but have had nightmares on and off over the years. It got worse when I started working nights.
"I tried it for six months but I couldn't eat or sleep once I got home. I started having nose bleeds and the nightmares got worse."
She was unable to carry on and was off work ill.
And her husband told how the disaster affected her especially around the time of its anniversary.
He said, "If it was damp and misty on the morning of the disaster then she just could not bring herself to let the kids go to school."
He said that until she worked nights she had never taken a day off work.
Janice, who earned £350-a- week, is being backed by the General and Municipal Workers' Union in her claim against Rizla's parent company Imperial Tobacco.
Union regional organiser Gareth Morgans said, "Rizla knew that the reason Mrs Evans could not work nights was due to nightmares and panic because of Aberfan which meant she could not sleep during the day."
Rizla are denying that she was unfairly sacked.
A company spokesman said, "In the light of the pending tribunal hearing the company considers it would be inappropriate to comment."
The Cardiff tribunal is expected to go ahead early next year.