Limburg miners to take action 27 years after the closure of the last mine

Former miners in what was Flanders’ only coalfield in Limburg Province are considering stage protests almost 27 year after the last of the country’s pits closed permanently. They are unhappy that many retire miners’ pensions have been calculated incorrectly meaning that they are receive more than 2,000 euro/annum less than they should do.  

A meeting of former miners held in the Limburg municipality of Heusen-Zolder at the weekend was very well attended. Those at the meeting that was organised by the Circle of Friends of the Kempen Coalmines agreed to take action to get what the feel is what they are entitled to. The issue centres around pensions for mineworkers that worked underground.

When Belgium still had coalmines a law was passed stating that those that had worked underground for 20 years would have there (state) pension rights calculated as if they had worked for 30 years.  

The miners that were in their late 30’s and early 40’s when the mines closed and had work down the pit for 20 years have since retired. However, they have discovered that the promise that their years underground would be counted as half as much again for pension purposes has not been honoured.

This means that the miners are receiving between 2,000 and 2,600 euro/annum less pension than would otherwise have been the case. Retired miners from the across Limburg are all in the same boat. If the issue is not put right the former miners intend to stage a protest march in Brussels.  

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