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Spain: unions win legal recognition of hotel housekeepers' injuries and illnesses as occupational diseases

13 September 2018 News
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CC.OO Servicios and FeSMCUGT, the IUF's affiliates organizing workers in the Spanish tourism sector, have won an important gain for the rights, social benefits, and safety and health of hotel housekeepers. On August 30 the tripartite body on employment quality in the hospitality sector, which brings together employers, unions and governments at local and national level, agreed to officially recognize a group of specific pathologies affecting hotel housekeepers as occupational diseases.  

These include conditions of the hand, wrist, elbow, forearm and shoulder.  Carpal tunnel syndrome, De Quervain's tenosynovitis, stenosing tenosynovitis ('trigger finger'), epicondylitis ('tennis elbow'), epitrocleitis (golfer's elbow'), and chronic bursitis are now formally recognized as occupational diseases of housekeepers.

A working group has been established to consider adding additional debilitating syndromes associated with back and neck pain (herniated disc, Dorsalgia, Cervicalgi) to the register of occupational illnesses affecting housekeeping and other work activities in the sector.  

The tripartite body also formally requested the government to establish a specific category for housekeepers in the national statistical system to allow for more accurate information on this large and growing category of workers.

The government has signaled its willingness to expedite implementation of the agreements, and the unions have launched information campaigns on these important gains.