CHANGES to death certification during the coronavirus pandemic could be leading to industrial diseases among former miners being overlooked.
As Chair of Parliament’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coalfield Communities, I raised this issues of compensation and pensions for former coal workers and their families – calling on ministers to improve support.
I have been campaigning alongside Chris Kitchen – General Secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers – about changes to the death certification rules during the pandemic, which could prevent referrals to coroners for assessments of whether industrial diseases contributed to a person’s death.
In addition, I also joined his Labour colleague Stephanie Peacock MP in leading a group of 50 coalfield MPs from across England in calling for a formal parliamentary inquiry into the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme to ensure a fair proportion of the surplus goes to former miners and their families.
At work, coal miners across St Helens, Lancashire and the country risked life, limb and ill-health to power Britain’s homes and industries. Men like the recently deceased John Gerritty from Earlestown, who proudly worked for many years at Parkside, and Colin Rooney from Haydock, who is campaigning alongside me to ensure our ex-miners get the recognition they deserve.
In return, the very least the Government owes them and their families is a proper pension, and rightful access to compensation should the diseases caused by their work contribute to their death.