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Workers strike for compensation

[ 2009-07-31 11:01]     字号 [] [] []  
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About 120 migrant workers suffering from black lung staged a sit-down strike yesterday outside the local Shenzhen municipal government to plea for reasonable compensation.

The workers, from Hunan, once worked underground to lay the foundations for Shenzhen's economic development and are now sick from the dust they breathed.

"A total of 17 people died and more people were diagnosed with black lung," said worker representative Xu Zhihui.

"The local government agreed to give compensation of 30,000 yuan ($4,385) each to those who could not prove their employment relationship," said Xu

Unfortunately, many workers did not have proper contracts, and proving their employment has been difficult.

They had asked for compensation of 200,000 yuan for those at the first stage of the disease, with 50,000 for each stage after that.

The workers first went to Shenzhen, China's first special economic zone, in late 1980s when the city was growing rapidly and skyscrapers were being constructed everywhere.

They could earn 2,000 to 3,000 yuan a month at a time when the monthly income in China was 400 to 500 yuan.

"Every man in my village wanted to work in Shenzhen like me. If we knew the job could lead to incurable diseases, we would have never exchanged our lives for money," Xu Ruibao said.

He is at the second stage of the illness, while his brother is at the late stage and cannot walk farther than three steps.

They were diagnosed with black lung during recent check-ups at the Shenzhen Hospital for the Prevention and Treatment of Occupational Diseases.

"We will continue the peaceful sit-down strike until the government reconsiders our requests," Xu said.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Workers strike for compensation

Workers strike for compensationBrendan joined The China Daily in 2007 as a language polisher in the Language Tips Department, where he writes a regular column for Chinese English Language learners, reads audio news for listeners and anchors the weekly video news in addition to assisting with on location stories. Elsewhere he writes Op’Ed pieces with a China focus that feature in the Daily’s Website opinion section.

He received his B.A. and Post Grad Dip from Curtin University in 1997 and his Masters in Community Development and Management from Charles Darwin University in 2003. He has taught in Japan, England, Australia and most recently China. His articles have featured in the Bangkok Post, The Taipei Times, The Asia News Network and in-flight magazines.