Fri. Apr 10th, 2020

Coronavirus in the Canary Islands: A judge warns that it is now “impossible” to give masks to all workers – La Provincia


A magistrate of Santa Cruz de Tenerife has dismissed the request made by UGT for masks to be secured immediately to all workers of the home help company that provides service to the City Council of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

The judicial authority understands that the company and the City Council cannot be compelled “to comply with an order that is materially impossible according to the laws of logic and reality”.

The Administrative Litigation Court number 8 of Santa Cruz de Tenerife this morning notified the order that dismisses the two precautionary measures interested in the Federation of Employees of the Public Services of the General Union of Workers (UGT) so that the Santacrucero City Council and the outsourced home help company Clece S.A. will ensure the supply to all workers of the material and Epis (personal protective equipment) “minimally necessary and essential to ensure health” against possible contagion by Covid19.

The labor union It requested that, in the event that it was not possible to ensure this supply, the judicial authority ordered the “suspension of the relationship or the exemption from the provision of services”, with the maintenance of the business duty to quote and pay wages.

After an exhaustive review of the legal regulation Developed in relation to the pandemic, the judicial authority concludes that it must reject the first of the petitions due to the “real and manifest impossibility” of its compliance.

He recapitulates that from the documentary provided by Clece at the hearing in which the case was analyzed, it turns out that the weekly expense would amount to “15,000 masks, 7,500 surgical gowns, 304 glasses and 15,000 gloves for an average estimate of 1,500 services / day”.

In front of this petition, the judicial authority continues, the company accredits that on March 17 it had 400 masks, 21 glasses and 400 gowns “, in addition to, of course, gloves for all workers.

“The situation of scarcity of these products is also a notorious and public fact that does not need to be proven,” reasons the order, “the Ministry of Health having directed numerous times instructions to health personnel to assess other alternatives other than the use of masks. Consequently, the company and the City Council cannot be compelled to comply with an order that is materially impossible according to the laws of logic and reality, “it states.

However, the magistrate stresses that this refusal “does not exclude the requirement to the City Council so that, as it was promised at the hearing, it delivered this Monday to the company CLECE, S.A. more protective equipment that is available and that contributes to improving the protection of workers against exposure to the coronavirus. “

The Court also dismisses the subsidiary request that the service be suspended: “in the municipality of Santa Cruz of Tenerife About 1,500 people are users of this service. More than a thousand people, therefore, need as an essential service to survive the help of these workers, who come to their homes to assist them in daily and fundamental tasks of life, such as cleaning, eating or taking medicine. The service provided by the applicant workers is of such importance that, if not provided, the lives of a large number of users would be in extreme danger, “he warns.

The judge concludes her decision by pointing out that, despite the fact that the UGT petitions must be rejected, “it is appropriate to expressly acknowledge the admirable work that the group of applicant workers is carrying out at this time of health alarm. Clece workers, SA are currently providing an essential and basic service for the life and health of the group most vulnerable to the coronavirus, “he emphasizes,” exactly like other workers who have been expressly recognized in the media the worth and importance of their work (health personnel, pharmacists) “.

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