Twelve poisoned workers at Hong Kong-based battery maker Gold Peak Industries were promised a US$366,280 medical fund after more than 30 employees staged a protest with colleagues at the company’s Shenzhen factory yesterday, the South China Morning Post reported. The workers claimed their boss had refused to discuss compensation with employees who suffered from abnormally high levels of cadmium at work. They accused their boss of intending to avoid the payout by relocating all production lines by the end of June. The employees said that 80 workers at the battery maker’s Shenzhen factory were found to have cadmium exposure in 2004. GP Batteries denounced the protests and said that it had already offered workers compensation and severence payments in excess of what Chinese law requires. Workers said this was a scam to get people to leave the company. People who inhale cadmium dust, which is carcinogenic, may die of renal failure. Cadmium can also damage the intestinal tract. State media said at least three workers had died from suspected cadmium poisoning.