According to a report from the China social assistance Foundation’s “Love save pneumoconiosis” fund (大爱清尘基金）, although pneumoconiosis is classified as an occupational disease in China and people affected by it should be entitled to compensation, free medical treatment and a living allowance, only 25.72% migrant workers diagnosed with the disease ask for compensation and only 17.3% of them obtain one.
The report, entitled “research report on the living conditions of pneumoconiosis-affected migrant workers (2014)” is based on 612 interviews and covers provinces were pneumoconiosis is not highly developed such as Anhui, Gansu, Guizhou, Hunan and Sichuan.
Only 6.8% workers interviewed in this report had signed a contract with their employer and 8.4% had occupational disease insurance while working. Not having signed a labour contract, they had difficulties claiming compensation when diagnosed with pneumoconiosis. Moreover, the report states that 82.4% interviewees did not receive any medical treatment and that only 29.5% managed to get a basic living allowance equal to 232 RMB on average.
Lu Huilin, associate sociology professor at Peking University, stresses that the establishment of the labor relation should not be a pre-requisite for obtaining medical care. Any person diagnosed with pneumoconiosis should have access to treatment and compensation regardless of their ability to establish their labor relation with an employer.