Teachers union Fenprof has announced that it will be suing the State for forcing its members to continue to take classes in schools blighted by the existence of asbestos.
Fenprof’s argument is that the State has failed to comply with the promise made three years ago to remove asbestos from schools by the end of 2019.
According to an EU directive, member states should oversee the removal of asbestos from all buildings by 2032. But the progress of interventions continues to be painfully slow.
Thus Fenprof’s plan “to present court actions in the name of all teachers who give classes in schools where asbestos still exists”.
The actions will be filed in Portugal and with the European Commission.
Says Público, Fenprof’s chief concern is “the possibility of these professionals becoming victims of cancer in the future”.
A lung specialist with Portugal’s prestigious Champalimaud Foundation admitted back in 2015 that cases of mesothelioma tumours linked to asbestos were coming in in Portugal at the rate he’d never seen previously.
Pulmonologist José Cruz warned of a “massive” potential increase on the way in the number of asbestos-related cancers (click here).
What infuriates Fenprof further is the ‘secretism’ surrounding the number of schools that have yet to have their asbestos material removed (click here).
Teacher André Pestana, one of the leaders of protests ongoing in schools right now, said that he knows of a “list of more than 100 schools” but that these will be “just the tip of the iceberg, as asbestos can also be present in the floors and false ceilings of schools”.
Quizzed by journalists at Lusa as to exact numbers, the Ministry of Education has reportedly failed to respond.