Political boffin, keen fisherman looking forward to retirement.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Miners Compensation - the Great New Labour Lie

It must be election time when Labour politicians start trumpeting compensation payments to former NCB miners for respiratory diseases caused by working underground. What Labour politicians don’t tell you of course is that these payments were only awarded after the newly elected Labour Government in 1997 was defeated in the courts by NACODS South Wales.

It is really scrapping the barrel to claim credit for something when you were dragged kicking and screaming through the courts. Here’s a little question for Labour politicians, if you are so concerned with awarding compensation to miners for the terrible injuries sustained whilst working for the NCB, why don’t you address an anomaly in the initial case and include surface mineworkers in the compensation scheme?

The case is clear; many surface mineworkers worked in the washeries and were probably subjected to dustier conditions than those underground, yet Labour has done nothing to ensure these workers are eligible for rightful compensation.

Why don’t the unions go to court I hear you ask. Following the original court loss the government has made it far harder for class actions of the sort to be won. In the case of surface mineworkers, the Labour Government is refusing to safeguard any claimant from prosecution costs should they lose. The threat of having millions of pounds worth of Government defence costs as a liability is enough to hinder any further compensation claim.

This is nothing less than bullying by Labour. The very least the Government should do is waver costs and let this issue be resolved by the Courts. With the way Labour are harping on about the current scheme you would think that they would just include surface mineworkers in the scheme as an act of good faith and be done with it.

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