NEWS

Judge rules in Kuneva’s favor over acid attack

Court sees incident as work-related, orders cleaning firm to pay damages

A court of first instance in Piraeus on Friday ordered a cleaning firm to pay 250,000 euros in damages to Constantina Kuneva, the Bulgarian woman who suffered serious injuries in a 2008 acid attack that was linked to her role as a unionist at the company.

Judge Ilias Pollakis said he accepted “in part” Kuneva’s argument that the firm, Oiko-Met, had failed to protect her after she was threatened. The firm turned down the employee’s request to be moved from the night shift due to concerns about her security.

Pollakis said that by forcing Kuneva to continue working past midnight, the company had let her become an easy target for her attackers. As such, the judge said, her injuries could be considered a work-related accident. He ordered Oiko-Met to pay 80,000 euros immediately to Kuneva, who has suffered serious health problems since the attack.

Kuneva became blind in one eye and lost the use of her vocal chords after sulfuric acid was thrown at her as she returned home from a cleaning job at an electric railway station. Nobody has been arrested for the attack on December 22, 2008.

A month earlier, Kuneva told the International Trade Union Confederation in an interview that she was at odds with Oiko-Met over her role as head of the Attica Union of Cleaners and Domestic Workers.

“I have work colleagues with whom I normally have friendly relations who no longer dare to speak to me, or say hello, in case we are spotted by someone from management,” said Kuneva. “I have been accused of theft and have received death threats by phone.”

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