Miners with Black Lung Hard Pressed to Get Compensation
    2011-02-15 12:36:55     CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Yu
 

The dying miners with black lung disease in northwest China's Gansu Province have found out that it is hard to seek medical assistance and compensation from their former employer, CCTV reported.

Zhou Junshan, 38, from Gulang County in Gansu, told the state television broadcaster that hundreds of workers were employed at a gold mine in Mazongshan town from 1984 to 2006, and the mine owners equipped the workers with air drills for tunneling which caused intense dust pollution but no protection against the dust in the pit other than an ordinary cloth mask.

The cases were first exposed in January 2010, when the Chinese media published lengthy investigative reports about their plight. The Gulang County government promised to coordinate with the Subei County government to settle the miners' medical costs and compensation, the Xinhua News Agency reported earlier.

Zhou said without a labor contract, it was difficult to claim compensation or refund of medical costs. Moreover, Pan Zhanlin, the latest owner, denied the work caused the illness and instead blamed tobacco, according to the report.

There were 37 different owners of the gold mine from 1984 to 2006, however, only four or five of them could be contacted by the reporter, and no employers at the mining company were held responsible. Wang Xiaomei, labor and social security chief in Subei County explained to CCTV that most miners did not sign any labor contract or permits with the employer, and only 16 of them have the evidence to prove that they used to work there.

Zhou said that the employer took away the evidence such as temporary resident permits and border permits, and then refused to pay for the compensation as there is no evidence to prove the employment relationship, the report said.

"The local government and the health department have to cover all lung disease treatments for the miners first", said Wu Xiongcheng, the deputy director-general of Human Resources and Social Insurance Department of Gansu Province.

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