Campaigners on behalf of ill former slate mine workers have raised fears over the Government’s delay in offering industrial disease compensation.
Plans were being thought out by the previous Labour government to provide a fund for compensation claims and a body tasked with tracing insurance companies who covered the now defunct slate mines. The fact the mines are no longer in business means finding who to claim compensation from can be difficult. However, the new Conservative and Liberal Democrat government seems in no rush to implement these ideas.
The Department of Work and Pensions has said it will consider the ideas but did not set a date as to when this would occur. Now campaigners fear that the proposals will fall victim to the numerous cuts being outlined by the new government in a desperate bid to save money wherever it can.
Many slate workers employed in the mines of north Wales have developed lung and chest problems in later life. This comes from inhaling slate dust prevalent throughout their work area in times before protection for workers was deemed necessary. Many feel they have been poorly treated compared to coal miners.
Ted Oliver, a former union official – who himself suffers from pneumoconiosis – spoke to the BBC about the poor way former miners were treated. He reported it was “a battle” to get compensation money for affected slate workers.
For the people who have been fighting for years to get compensation it is a case of waiting to see if the new government will help them in their fight.