The Catholic Church says it is shepherding a class-action lawsuit through the courts against mining companies in South Africa on behalf of coal miners with lung disease. The Southern African Bishops Conference said on Wednesday that lawyers filed papers with South Africa’s High Court on Tuesday. The miners are represented by Richard Spoors, a lawyer who has won compensation in similar cases before. Filed on behalf of 17 former and current mine workers, the case targets mining giant BHP, its spin-off South32 and South Africa’s Seriti. It seeks recourse for all miners who worked for these companies since 1965 and contracted lung disease as well as dependents of workers who died from coal dust-induced illness. The church said it initiated and facilitated the case after it was approached by mine workers for assistance. The class action accuses the companies of failing to provide their workers with adequate training, equipment and a safe working environment despite knowing the risks to coal miners.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA