Salem Radio Network News Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Health

Workers confined in campervans at Spanish water plant to guarantee operations

BARCELONA (Reuters) – Fourteen employees of a Barcelona water-treatment facility are living in campervans parked outside the plant to avoid COVID-19 contagion and ensure operations continue as soaring infections from the Omicron variant take out key workers across Europe.

Aigues de Barcelona, the plant’s operator, said in a statement the voluntary confinement started on Jan. 4 and replicates a similar strategy taken at the onset of the pandemic in 2020.

The workers – who had to test negative before entering the programme and are doing extra hours – will receive a bonus of 1,000 euros net of tax per week and 14 extra vacation days as compensation, union leader Carlos Cruz told Reuters.

Food is being delivered to the workers, who will remain in the motorhomes for two weeks until Jan. 18, when the company will assess if a new group should replace them, he added.

They have also been provided with computers to hold video calls with loved ones, Cruz said.

“People’s commitment shows through in difficult moments,” Aigues de Barcelona’s director general Ruben Ruiz tweeted earlier this week, praising the workers who decided to remain in the plant, which has around 80 employees.

The company declined to make any of the confined workers available for an interview.

Aigues de Barcelona has prepared similar isolation strategies in case they are needed for its other plants in the Barcelona area, the union leader said.

(Reporting by Joan Faus; Editing by Nathan Allen and Janet Lawrence)

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