It took eight years of proceedings for coal miners in Lorraine to obtain compensation.
The state paid 10,000 euros on Monday to each of the 727 minors concerned who had obtained in January the recognition of their prejudice of anxiety for having been exposed to toxic substances, announced the CFDT minors.
That is "7,342,700 euros granted to minors by the Douai Court of Appeal", welcomed the union in a statement.
" At last !
», Exclaimed to AFP François Dosso, a former CFDT miner, deploring that it took seven months for the state to pay these allowances.
Jean-Paul Teissonnière, one of the plaintiffs' lawyers, hailed "a great success, torn away after a long struggle" after "a long legal fight".
"It is the stubbornness of the minors which is at the origin of this decision in the face of the inertia of the public authorities", he stressed.
The concept of anxiety prejudice
As a reminder, the former miners of the Houillères of the Lorraine basin had demonstrated several times this year to obtain the payment of these indemnities. Consecrated in 2010 but reserved until 2019 for asbestos workers, the concept of anxiety damage allows the compensation of people who are not sick but fear falling ill. Since the start of the procedure in 2013, 320 occupational diseases, mainly cancer and silicosis, have been recognized among the 727 complainants, said François Dosso. "This confirms the risk and it means that from 2013, they had reason to be worried", according to the trade unionist.
In January, the court highlighted the exposure of underground miners as well as "day" miners to a series of harmful substances: wood and coal dust, asbestos particles, diesel locomotive fumes and even gasoline fumes. toxic liquids, generating “a high risk of developing serious pathology. “She considered that the State Judicial Agent (AJE), intervening following the liquidation of Charbonnages de France, had not provided proof that all measures had been taken to protect the health of workers. The lawyer of the AJE, Maître Joumana Frangié-Moukanas, had on the contrary assured, at the hearing, in September 2020, that Charbonnages de France had carried out an "active policy of prevention, having regard to the knowledge of the era ".
Consideration of exposure to all toxic substances
The legal battle of the former "black gueules" of Lorraine, where the last mine closed in 2004, began in 2013 before the labor courts of Forbach (Moselle).
They estimated in 2016 that Charbonnages de France had committed a fault by exposing them to at least two dangerous products.
Faced with the low level of compensation allocated (1,000 euros each) and the lack of recognition of other toxic substances, the minors appealed.
But the Metz Court of Appeal dismissed them in 2017 from all of their requests.
In 2019, the Court of Cassation quashed this judgment and took into account exposure to all toxic substances, although this damage had until then only been recognized for asbestos workers.
North: In Douai, the prejudice of anxiety recognized for 727 former Lorraine miners
After asbestos, compensation for anxiety damage open to all toxic substances