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A cleaner in Madrid, in Puerta del Sol, this Tuesday morning.Aitor Sol

The death of José Antonio González, a 60-year-old cleaning worker from Madrid, Extremadura, who died of heatstroke last Friday while sweeping the streets of Vallecas – his body had a temperature of 41 degrees when the toilets arrived – has caused that Both the companies commissioned by the city council to clean the streets of the capital and the unions have reached a collective agreement to improve the working conditions of street sweepers in the face of the heat waves. Exactly Friday was the warmest day in Madrid in the last 102 years, according to the station of the State Meteorological Agency. On Tuesday afternoon, another 58-year-old worker suffered heat stroke while sweeping the streets in the Arganzuela district, very close to the center. He is in a “serious” condition in the hospital as of Oct. 12, according to an emergency services spokesman.

The meeting between the companies and the unions began after 12 noon on Tuesday and ended nine hours later. The six contracts were in place: Cespa, OHL, Urbaser, Acciona and FCC. No city council representative attended. González, the worker who died last Friday, worked for Urbaser. He had a one-month fixed-term contract. On Friday he had switched shifts to a colleague. His son asked for better conditions for all his colleagues this Tuesday in EL PAÍS: “I am convinced that he did not stop cleaning this street until he passed out. I would think that they would not renew him and he gave everything to show that he was worth it.” Urbaser did not want to answer any questions from this newspaper these days. As advanced The Newspaper of Spainthis company had four fatal work-related accidents in 2020.

The new agreement, to which EL PAÍS had access, is divided into three phases based on the state weather agency’s warnings: green, yellow, red. In the green phase, the usual recommendations are followed, e.g. B. drinking plenty of fluids, adapting routes to shade and sun protection. In the case of the yellows, the breakdown of the afternoon shifts is suppressed for the first time and all previous ones are also used. After all, with extremely high temperatures like these days, the cleaning vehicles without air conditioning are not used on the streets of Madrid and for the first time the afternoon cleaning service is abolished. That is, the day from three to ten will be deserted. Improvements were also found in the clothing of all workers, which will become known in the coming days after negotiations between the companies and the works councils.

At least 14 cleaners in Madrid suffered from dizziness only at the weekend, according to data provided to EL PAÍS on Tuesday by the UGT union. They have no records, yes, of heat strokes like those suffered by street sweeper José Manuel González, 60, who died cleaning in Puente de Vallecas on Friday. González suddenly collapsed on one of the neighborhood streets at five o’clock in the afternoon. His body temperature was 41.6 degrees when emergency services arrived. Hours later he died. According to the state weather agency, Friday was the warmest day in Madrid for at least 102 years.

Almeida’s silence and the opposition’s proposals

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José Luis Martínez-Almeida made his first appearance today before the media and with questions from the press at an agenda event following the death of the cleaner. “We are committed to looking for every possible improvement so that these situations do not repeat themselves,” he said. “We will consider any suggestions that are made to us in case of heat waves in the city of Madrid. We’ve spoken to the companies so they can be more flexible and change the schedule based on so-and-so. What we control is that these regulations are complied with.”

Thursday, during an interview with Cadena SER, The mayor openly admitted that he was not familiar with the material that the capital’s cleaners work with, but would try to improve these conditions by listening to a street sweeper explain to him live the problems of wearing a polyester uniform at 40 degree explained. “I promise to speak to the environmental delegate and to the companies to see if improvements can be made […] In such heat waves, a polyester uniform doesn’t help you in the least, and it doesn’t do you any good to be able to work either.” This Monday he took part in an act of the PP at the Genoa headquarters: “We didn’t know that there were complaints about the uniforms,” ​​he said.

This Wednesday the monthly plenary session will take place at the Cibeles Palace. All parties – with the exception of Vox for now – have put forward proposals to try to work out an agreement for all municipal workers affected by heatwaves. Más Madrid has proposed adjusting the work shifts for street sweepers, gardeners, mobility agents or Regulated Parking Service (SER) employees; proper uniforms; that all sources work; that all baths open at the beginning of the season and air-conditioned accommodation for the general population without air-conditioning in libraries, parks and schools. The PSOE will ask Almeida what action he intends to take in the coming years given the “evidence” of future heat waves. And the mixed group, consisting of three ex-ediles from Más Madrid, has submitted an urgent application so that concrete measures against heat waves are included in the specifications of the cleaning companies.

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Source elpais.com

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