ITUC OnLine – January 21, 2009

Brussels, 21 January 2009 (ITUC online):   The ITUC is deeply shocked by the inadequate investigation into the particularly barbarous attack on Constantina Kuneva, General Secretary of the trade union covering the cleaning sector in the Athens region, PEKOP.
The ITUC fully supports the complaint of its Greek affiliate the GSEE(*), which “strongly protests the unacceptable delay and most deficient investigation procedure into the murderous attack”.
On 22 December Constantina Kuneva, a Bulgarian migrant worker and union activist, was the victim of an attack using sulphuric acid while returning home from her workplace. She was seriously wounded, losing the use of one eye and of her vocal chords and she is still in a hospital intensive care unit.
Almost one month after that scandalous attack, the Greek unions complain that the “investigations to locate the perpetrators are effectively at point zero, in stark contrast to the dazzling speed of the authorities in cases against workers and strike action!” Neither eye witness reports nor laboratory tests have been used in this case. The victim’s statement has not yet been recorded, despite the fact that she can now communicate in writing.
The ITUC joins the GSEE and its regional and sectoral affiliates in reaffirming the urgent demand that the police and judicial authorities conduct a serious investigation to ensure that the perpetrators are arrested and punished. The trade union movement also calls on the Ministry of Labour and the Labour Inspectorate to take immediate measures to end the serious and blatant abuse by employers in the cleaning and domestic service sectors.
A few weeks before this awful attack, Constantina Kuneva had warned that she felt in grave danger as a result of her union activities. In an interview for the ITUC at the end of November she had also denounced the poverty wages and harsh working conditions in this sector, where 80% of the employees are migrants and the vast majority are women. You can read the interview “I’ve been receiving death threats” by clicking here.
(*)Greek General Confederation of Labour (GSEE)