Madrid’s Metro workers strike, rally over the death of colleagues from asbestos exposure

Madrid’s Metro workers strike, rally over the death of colleagues from asbestos exposure

Workers for Madrid’s Metro system have rallied over the deaths of a number of employees due to asbestos-related illnesses. On Wednesday, dozens of workers from the Metro de Madrid rallied at the Congress of Deputies, demanding the body implement a fund to aid the treatment of current and former employees who had been exposed to asbestos. 

The protests coincided with four and a half hours of metro stoppages called by the city’s Works Council.

The Transport Workers trade unions in the city intend to support a bill currently in the country’s National Assembly, which would see the implementation of a compensation fund for asbestos victims.

Workers at the protest demanded that the law should include early retirement benefits for workers exposed to asbestos during their working lives. They cite current models in countries like Belgium and France, where asbestos laws and support funds are “much more advanced”. 

“We have to make sure that those affected by asbestos are taken care of, if it doesn’t cover everyone, it would be an absurd law”, said Francisco Javier del Llano, President of the Works Council, about the proposed legislation update.

The secretary of the CC OO (Comisiones Obreras or Workers Commission) explained that there had been “11 deaths and more than 14 recognitions of occupational disease, and we find that both the Community of Madrid and Metro are putting up all the barriers in the world for the recognition of our disease.”

“We want the trains and stations to be completely de-asbestosed.”

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