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live The court indemnifies Konstantina Kuneva with 250 thousand euro

08 July 2013 / 14:07:52  GRReporter
4572 reads

Victoria Mindova

Bulgarian Konstantina Kuneva has won the case at the first instance court in Piraeus against her employer, namely Ikomet company, for recognition of moral damage. Six months after the submission of the case, the court has decided that the company should pay Kuneva compensation for an employment accident to the amount of 250 thousand euro, 80 thousand euro of which are to be paid immediately.

"The probability of the company creating difficulties in connection with the enforcement of the judgment is high," Daphne Vaianou, defender of Konstantina Kuneva, told GRReporter exclusively.
"The probability of the company creating difficulties in connection with the enforcement of the judgment is high," Daphne Vaianou, defender of Konstantina Kuneva, told GRReporter exclusively. "We did not expect compensation of 250 thousand euro. This sum will certainly not be paid quickly. The other side will most probably appeal." She explains that the amount is relatively high compared to the average level of compensation paid in Greece and that she could not predict how long it will take Ikomet to pay the entire amount.

Vaianou states that she has informed Kuneva of the court decision over the phone. The news that the court has judged in her favour delighted the Bulgarian although the actual implementation of the decision may take months, even years. "This is a moral victory," stresses Vaianou.

Kuneva’s defenders expect that the lawyers of Ikomet will appeal the decision in the near future.

If the company refuses to pay the amount stipulated by the court or creates other problems regarding the enforcement of the judgment, Kuneva’s side will require an inventory of Ikomet’s property in order for the court to proceed to confiscation to the amount of the sum which is required to be immediately paid.

"We are in the process of fulfilling all preconditions for the payment of the compensation," says Vaianou.

The court decision recognizes as valid the testimonies stating that Konstantina Kuneva had been exposed to a real threat because of her union activity at Ikomet.

"Kuneva had requested a change in her working hours by being moved from a night to day shift precisely because of this threat. The court has recognized that the company failed to comply with this request although it could have transferred Kuneva to a worksite which was closer to her home and to the day shift."

As a result, the company is morally responsible for the incident. The management of the company did not take into account the multiple requests of Kuneva who, between 23 and 24 December 2008, was attacked just before midnight, several minutes after leaving her workplace.

According to the legislation in force in Greece, the working hours include the time of transportation to and from the workplace. Kuneva was attacked several minutes after the end of the evening shift. The testimonies of Kuneva and witnesses in the case indicate that the Bulgarian had already received threats over the phone that if she did not stop her union activity she would die. Similar threats were made to her child as well.

The Bulgarian worked as a cleaner in the company that serves the city train stations in Athens and was a general secretary of the union of cleaners to Ikomet. As a trade unionist, she fought against the serious violations of labour relations in the company. After the threats became more frequent, Kuneva asked to be moved to a station closer to her home and to work only on the day shift.

"As you can see it is much more dangerous for someone to go home from work at midnight than during the day when there are people and while it is still daylight, especially when there have already been threats to this person’s life. The company did not meet Kuneva’s requests to be moved to the day shift thus failing to protect its employee," says Vaianou.

The attackers who splashed Konstantina with acid five years ago remain unknown. There is no direct evidence to connect Ikomet with the incident. The fact remains that the threats to her life, according to the testimony of the witnesses, were related to her union activities.

GRReporter contacted one of the main witnesses in Kontstantina Kuneva’s case, namely Kathimerini newspaper journalist Christina Kopsini. She is one of those Greeks who are aware of Kuneva's case in detail and has a personal friendly relationship with her.

GRReporter contacted one of the main witnesses in Kontstantina Kuneva’s case, namely Kathimerini newspaper journalist Christina Kopsini. She is one of those Greeks who are aware of Kuneva's case in detail and has a personal friendly relationship with her.

"I think the court decision connected with the claim of Kuneva’s defenders (Daphne Vaianou, Varvara Voltea and the legal adviser to the union of private sector employees (GSEE) Maria Lagouvardou) is good as a financial penalty but it is not good regarding the responsibility of those who have caused the moral damage. The company employing Kuneva did not protect her from the violent act," says the journalist.

She explains that, when there was a job opening closer to Kuneva’s house for which she had applied, the management of Ikomet had preferred to hire a new employee to fill the position rather than to protect the Bulgarian.

Tags: Crime newsKunevaAttackIkomet
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