SPAIN: A cancer of the oesophagus caused by asbestos recognized as work-related

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The Higher Court of Justice of Catalonia (“TSJC”) recognized for the first time that the cancer of the oesophagus suffered by a worker had been caused by repeated exposure to asbestos dust in the Castelldefels factory (Barcelona province) where he worked, and it therefore considered this cancer an occupational disease.

By its decision, the Court ratified the pioneering ruling of the Barcelona Labour Relations Court No. 3, and rejected the appeal made by the firm Rocalla, since taken over by Uralita, and by the National Social Security Institute of Spain. The plaintiff’s husband had worked for twenty years in the Rocalla factory specialized in the manufacture of asbestos cement products. The defence may still make an appeal to a higher legal authority: the Tribunal Supremo, i.e. the Spanish Supreme Court.

The Court thereby confirmed that the widow’s pension for the wife of the worker who died from the sequels of the cancer of the oesophagus had to be increased for work-related disease, and it obliges the Social Security system to pay her this increase of up to 52% of the calculation base set at €16,245 per year.

According to the Col·lectiu Ronda team, which represents the deceased worker’s widow, the Court’s ruling is especially important since cancer of the oesophagus was not yet included on the list of occupational diseases caused by asbestos, whereas other cancers, such as cancer of the larynx and lung cancer, were included.

To find out more (in Spanish)

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