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Monday, January 18, 2021

Madrid Funeral Workers Strike as COVID-19 Deaths Rise

Workers at funeral homes in Madrid, Spain have gone on a 24-hour strike last Nov. 1 to demand more staff as COVID-19 deaths continue to rise.

Workers at funeral homes in Madrid, Spain have gone on a 24-hour strike last Nov. 1 to demand more staff as COVID-19 deaths continue to rise.

Strike participants gathered at the entrance to Carabanchel Cemetery in southern Madrid to demand more staff to avoid another occurrence of burial delays that happened during the first wave of the pandemic last March.

Manuel Carmona, a staff from a municipal funeral home in the capital, told AFP news agency that it needed “15 to 20” more workers to handle the surge in deaths brought by the pandemic and to prevent another “improvisation” that took place last March.

“We don’t want to be accomplices of this irresponsibility,” Carmona said.

The health ministry of Spain reported 239 new deaths last Oct. 30, bringing the total number of deaths nationwide to 35,878. On the same day, the ministry reported 25,592 new cases, the largest daily tally during the second wave of the pandemic in the country.

Last March, burials experienced a delay for about a week as funeral homes struggled with the rise of deaths due to insufficient staff. Cremations also had to take place in cities hundreds of miles away.

Workers at funeral homes previously held a 24-hour strike last September due to the same concern.

The strike took place on All Saints’ Day, when families in Spain traditionally visit graves to observe the public holiday.

As of Nov. 2, the total number of cases in Spain has reached 1,264,517.

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