Owner agrees to discuss payouts for sick workers

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 February, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 February, 2005, 12:00am

A jewellery company owner accused of withholding compensation from two mainland employees suffering an incurable work-related disease softened his stance yesterday after a rowdy standoff with the workers and supporters.

Lucky Jewellery Group boss Wang Shenghua said he would discuss compensation with former employees Li Weizhong and Yang Renpin under the supervision of the Huizhou government on February 21.

The offer was made at a three-hour meeting with the pair and their representatives at Lucky's Hunghom offices, Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee (CIC) spokesman Parry Leung Pak-nang said.

The two workers suffer from the lung disease silicosis, which they say they contracted while working at Lucky's Shenzhen factory.

Yesterday's meeting, the second between the pair, Mr Wang and Democratic Party Councillor Chan Ka-wai was held after an earlier meeting on Tuesday failed to reach any agreement.

But it did not go ahead until activists had shouted slogans outside for an hour and Mr Wang had, according to one of the protesters, said he would probably withdraw an application for a restraining order to keep Mr Chan out of the company's offices.

About 60 workers from jewellery factories in the Guangdong province also suffered from the same incurable respiratory disease. These factories were accused of not giving any protection to their workers and not compensating all of them.