A 69-YEAR-OLD woman with osteoarthritis is being forced to work as a labourer in Almeria on the orders of Andalucia’s employment department, the SAE. Despite her age and failing health, she took the job to avoid losing her agricultural worker’s subsidy or the state pension to which she is still contributing.
“She felt she had nochoice,” explained one of her daughters, who said they had complained to the SAS but were told their mother fitted the profile required by the Diputacion de Almeria (provincial government).
The woman, who also suffers from lumbago and wants to remain anonymous, was sent to a provincial government building project on a six-week contract and told to chip away at a wall that needed repairing.
Firstly she was handed a pick axe, which her osteoarthritis made too painful to use, and was later given a trowel, working in the sun from 8am until 3pm.
“She is very worried about losing her subsidy,” the daughter said, “and that’s why, despite everything, she says that she will stick it out.”
She also told us they had been very kind to her and she could manage the work, although the family thinks differently.
“The SAE’s notification to the 69-year-old was possibly a mistake, admitted Francisca Perez Laborda, delegate to theAlmeria Employment Department. The case would be looked into, said Perez Laborda, and appropriate steps taken if an error had been made.
The 69-year-old was also due for a check-up to assess her state of health and family sources believed she was unlikely to be pronounced fit to work.