For the first time in the province, a judge orders a city council to carry out periodic tests on its officials to guarantee their safety against covid-19. This pioneering ruling affects the Consistory of Sant Joan and opens the way to extend it to other municipalities. The ruling of the Social Court number 1 of Alicante was notified on December 21, thus admitting the demand of the Federation of Unions of Public Employees (Fesep). And, by virtue of it, the Sant Joan City Council will start with the tests already in January. In the same way, the union is going to demand that the rest of the consistories apply the ruling and carry out periodic checks, otherwise it will denounce them in court.
The sentence is in line with the one handed down last October on Cocentaina, in which the Corporation was condemned for having violated the rights of workers and forced to adopt measures. But in the case of Sant Joan it goes further by stipulating the obligation of periodic tests to guarantee its safety. The magistrate declares “violated the right to physical integrity and health of the public employees of the defendant municipal Corporation in direct contact with citizens, condemning the same to reestablish the violated rights and provide public employees at their service in direct contact with citizens a safe environment in the workplace, and, by virtue of this, carry out to your employees in direct contact with citizens and with other co-workers and work environment the preventive tests of effective detection that are necessary to know of their affectation by the coronavirus ”.
For his part, the mayor of Sant Joan, Jaime Albero (PSOE), explained to this medium that they have already agreed with Personnel and the occupational risk company that at the beginning of the year tests will be carried out on several dozen officials by virtue of the ruling judicial.
This court already ordered as a precautionary measure in May the performance of tests, after Fesep presented the claim, some controls that were carried out in that month to all the personnel of the townhall. And now the ruling states that the rights of the workers were violated and that no more tests were carried out, something that the judge considers necessary and that affects workers in direct contact with the citizen, such as local police or civil service officials. Public attention.
Fesep denounced the violation of the right to physical integrity and the duty derived from the protection of health due to non-compliance with the legislation on the prevention of occupational risks, maintaining that this duty is the obligation of the Sant Joan City Council.
For Fesep, the sentence is “strong, since obliges the City Council to reestablish the violated rightss and to provide its public employees in direct contact with citizens a safe environment in the workplace ”, forcing these public employees to carry out preventive screening tests. The accused emphasizes that “the sentence does not support the thesis of the City Council that it was justified by having carried out a test that it has complied with its obligations regarding the prevention of occupational risks.
For Fesep, the ruling is very important “because of its great significance, since it is the first to be issued in the province of Alicante that obliges city councils, and by deduction also the other public administrations, to plan and carry out periodically diagnostic and prevention test for the detection of covid-19 to its public employees who provide service in contact with citizens and other co-workers “.
Likewise, the trade union organization denounces that “there are already numerous documents presented in many municipalities who fulfill their obligations as an employer guaranteeing public employees to work at all times in a safe work environment, and to periodically carry out diagnostic and prevention tests for the detection of covid-19 while the pandemic lasts.
They study legal actions for these negligence
Fesep is studying legal actions against the consistories to demand responsibility for these negligence. It explains that “in view of the content of this ruling, and the failure by most of the consistories of their obligations in the prevention of occupational hazards, Fesep announces the study of civil and / or criminal legal actions, of a collective and individual nature of its affiliates, against those responsible for the Municipal Service for the Prevention of Occupational Risks and Human Resources of the different municipalities involved, assessing, where appropriate, the damage caused to the health and integrity of the employees ”.
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