The Government will approve this Thursday a broad package of measures to respond to the climate crisis with actions aimed at dealing with drought to protect the agricultural world as well as in terms of hydraulic works. In addition, the Vice President and Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, announced yesterday that the Administration will prohibit work outdoors in episodes of extreme heat for exposed workers.
The Government wants to implement a legislative amendment to prohibit certain activities when exposure to high temperatures poses a health risk.
The measure could lead to the suspension of this activity in the red and orange alert phases decreed by the State Meteorological Agency (Aemet).
This especially affects workers who carry out their work outdoors, generally in cleaning and waste collection tasks, although the problem can also affect education monitors, storage personnel, bicycle delivery people, temporary facility assemblers. or troubleshooters.
In the event of a red or orange alert, it will be mandatory to reduce the working day or implement a schedule more in line with the weather. “We have already seen many episodes, very serious by the way, in the cleaning and garbage collection in which workers have died due to heat stroke,” said Díaz. "We are going to prohibit the performance of the professional activity when the Aemet says that we are on red or orange alert", he sentenced.
Last year several workers died from heat stroke. One case was in July that of José Antonio González, a street sweeper from Madrid who fell dead in the middle of the afternoon while working.
In these circumstances, the Government intends to make the reduction of workers' hours or readjustment mandatory, which opens the door to shortening working hours or changing shifts; and clothing and equipment adequacy measures would also be implemented. These are measures that can be approved today or later.
A report from the Trade Union Institute of Work, Environment and Health of CC.OO. He proposed that heat waves be considered an occupational risk.
The Council of Ministers will approve economic support measures for farmers who are suffering the most from the consequences of the drought.
The concern is that the reduction in harvests will raise the prices of some basic agricultural products. Direct aid to the sector will be extended and the deadlines for collecting the CAP will probably be extended as well as increasing the coverage of agricultural insurance.
The Minister for the Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, affirmed that the Council of Ministers will give the green light to "a very important volume of investment in infrastructures that, structurally, anticipate and are designed precisely to deal with these episodes of continued" .
It is also expected that the Administration will respond to the requests that the Generalitat has been making to contribute to the co-financing of some of the hydraulic infrastructures to improve the guarantee of water supply in the central region of Catalonia.
"This government makes decisions," they warn in Moncloa. And, just as they defend the adoption of "a very ambitious package of measures" to facilitate access to housing, especially for young people, because it is "one of the main concerns of citizens", Pedro Sánchez also has the crisis climate change and the problem of drought in Spain in his sights.
For this reason, it has convened a Council of Ministers for tomorrow, Thursday, to address new initiatives against drought. Sources close to the Government indicated that the planned measures include a set of aid to the agricultural sector and in terms of hydraulic works in Catalonia, among other areas of the territory.
The Minister of Climate Action, Teresa Jordà, sent a letter a few days ago to the Minister for the Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, in which she requests that the central Administration participate in the financing of the pending hydraulic infrastructures in Catalonia, like the central Government it has done with other communities in other drought episodes since 1990.
Jordà exposed the serious situation of drought that the Barcelona region is suffering and the urgency that exists to "speed up" the infrastructures.
"We are in an extreme situation that, from my point of view, requires the involvement of the State Government," he stressed. "We are facing a situation that we could describe as a catastrophe and that will have immediate repercussions if we do not act immediately," he explains. “It is time for the Spanish government to support Catalonia to overcome this water crisis”, he added.
Jordà also asked the Government on April 17 to co-finance the modernization works of the Canal d'Urgell and on April 28 that the ecological flow in the Ebro delta be respected.
The package to be approved adds to a battery of aid and investments already adopted in recent months. The lifeguard to the countryside began on March 15 of last year, with a decree on fiscal, labor, social and financial matters with an impact of 450 million. Among the direct measures are 650 million in aid already paid to the livestock, citrus and professional sectors that use fertilizers.
The Executive, in addition, has executed investments to try to solve the problem of lack of water. For example, since 2018, investment in water has increased by 70%, to 541 million. The hydrological plans, in addition, foresee allocating 22,844 million and European funds dedicate 3,167 million to the water cycle, with a specific Perte. Finally, the Executive has spent 2,150 million euros in the modernization of irrigation.