Mainland gem workers protested outside a jewellery firm in Hunghom yesterday, seeking compensation for an incurable lung disease contracted at work. Yu Daxu, 32, developed silicosis while working at a jewellery factory in Huizhou city , Guangdong, owned by a Hong Kong firm, Perfect Gem and Pearl. The condition is caused by inhaling mineral dust. Mr Yu came to Hong Kong to meet representatives of the firm. A colleague, Deng Wenping, 35, contracted silicosis at the same factory but was too ill to travel and sent his wife and daughter to the protest instead. A third victim from another Huizhou factory, Feng Xingzhong, joined the protest. Perfect Gem compensated Mr Yu and Mr Deng with $90,000 each in 2001, but it had all been spent on medical bills and living expenses, said Parry Leung Pak-nang, a spokesman for the Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee, a rights group for mainland workers. The protesters demanded a meeting with the company's owner yesterday but were told he was not in the office, Mr Leung said. However, he agreed to meet them on June 26 in Huizhou.