Refuse collectors in Spain’s Gran Canaria suspended without pay for refusing to work without Covid-19 protection

Image of the Virgen de la Arrixaca hospital in Murcia. Credit: Google maps - Francisco Sanchez

FIFTEEN council refuse collectors in Spain’s Gran Canaria have been suspended without pay for refusing to work one shift last month amid fears for their health and safety.

Telde’s cleaning staff have been informed that they will be suspended for 10 days without pay for refusing to work three weeks ago.

According to Canaries 7, on March 16, 15 refuse collectors refused to go to work because they didn’t have the Special Protection Equipment (EPI), nor were there the appropriate safety measures.

“We have to go (about our work) stuck to the back of the lorry, there is no disinfectant gel, and the gloves and masks are deficient,” the workers said at the time.

As a protest measure, and also because of the fear of infecting Covid-19 and passing it on to their families, some of the staff instead spent the night at the company’s facilities, in Melenera Business Park.

The ‘stoppage’ apparently only lasted one day as the UTE “threatened them that their attitude would have consequences if they did not perform their duties the next day.”

And so, in fear of reprisals and without solving the lack of equipment, they returned to normal service the next day.

However, according to reports, this didn’t prevent action which both workers and political parties consider disproportionate.

“The PSOE denounces the fact that workers who provide an essential service are punished for demanding the special protection equipment and security measures established in the State of Alarm,” the socialist group responded.

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Written by

Tara Rippin

Tara Rippin is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News, and is responsible for the Costa Blanca region.
She has been in journalism for more than 20 years, having worked for local newspapers in the Midlands, UK, before relocating to Spain in 1990.
Since arriving, the mother-of-one has made her home on the Costa Blanca, while spending 18 months at the EWN head office in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol.
She loves being part of a community that has a wonderful expat and Spanish mix, and strives to bring the latest and most relevant news to EWN’s loyal and valued readers.

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