THE General Workers Union (UGT) delivered a warning yesterday, claiming that dirt accumulating in various sections of the Son Dureta complex could be a health hazard. According to the union, the fault lies with the firm that was awarded the contract for hospital cleaning because they have taken a decision not to take on any more personnel to substitute absent staff. The UGT also condemns what it describes as the “negligent” attitude of hospital management in the face of “a serious situation.” Alicia Barceló is the spokesman for the UGT and sits as a representive on the Works Committee of the cleaning company, Eurolimp, S.A. who were awarded the contract for hospital cleaning. She explained that the company has not replaced any of the staff that are off work due to sickness and it has only covered 20 percent of vacant positions which have been created by staff being away on holiday. According to Barceló, the quota of staff set aside by Eurolimp for hospital cleaning officially totals 150, but at the present moment, only 105 cleaners are “active”. The UGT representative denounced the company for failing to take on sufficient replacement staff which has resulted in some sections of the hospital, such as the floors, becoming “very dirty”. This situation doesn't affect the operating theatres, but Barceló warned that “it's as important to keep floor areas clean as much as it is essential to keep operating theatres clean since patients have to pass through one to get to the other; there is a real risk of contamination”. The Union had claimed in an earlier communiqué that the origin of the problems of the cleaning service at Son Dureta lay in the “contract specifications stipulated by the hospital management, with prices below the true value of the service, and in the cleaning company repeatedly not fulfilling the work conditions laid down by the contract”. “These unsatisfactory circumstances have worsened in the extreme by the scarcity of staff. A large number have been absent from duty over the past few weeks, leaving a minimum, and insufficient workforce in place”, Barceló continued. The UGT reproached the negligence of both the cleaning company and hospital management in letting the situation “degenerate to a point where the workers who are actually on the job are being unjustly blamed by people using the hospital for the lack of cleanliness, when in fact those truly responsible were avoiding the issue”. Faced with this situation, Eurolimp's Works Committee has convened a general workers' assembly to be held early in September, during which members will discuss the possibility of using pressure tactics.

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