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The company recognizes the “pain and moral and material damage” caused to Luis Enrique Soriano

  • A judicial agreement has been reached between the family lawyer of the young Soriano who committed suicide in the workplace in 2021 and the representative of the company Manuel Aizpuru of Azpeitia. The company accepts the moral and material damages caused to Soriano and pays compensation to its relatives.
Sorianoren heriotza salatzeko Azpeitian egindako elkarretaratze bat 2021eko abuztuan. Argazkia: Jon Urbe / Foku

20 June 2023 - 09:55

On July 30, 2021, young Dominican Luis Enrique Soriano committed suicide by working at the company Manuel Aizpuru of Azpeitia. A week later the Azpeitiarra group Elkar announced the case and testimony of Soriano's relatives. They denounced the relationship between suicide and their working conditions. Some relatives of Soriano, along with the ESK trade union, decided to go to court.

Almost two years after the death of a 20-year-old boy, on 26 June the trial was to begin in San Sebastian Social Court No. 1, but it is reported that on 14 day the lawyer of the relatives of Soriano and the company representatives have signed a judicial agreement that puts an end to the judicial process.

Under the agreement, the insurance company and the company itself will pay to the family of Luis Enrique Soriano, displaced from the Dominican Republic to Azpeitia, economic damages for moral and material damages caused.

On May 19, ARGIA made public the payrolls of Luis Enrique Soriano, in which it was possible to verify the high number of overtime hours it spent each month by hand. The Labor Inspectorate itself also observed violations around Soriano's death, and in addition to working hours higher than those permitted by law, did not receive the corresponding holidays, forced to work on Saturdays, forced to go to the work center despite the COVID-19 disease, to perform the night shifts and alone with respect to the other workers who received other kind of treatment, the pressure at work was constant.

Tribute mural to Luis Enrique Soriano, of Elkar, in November 2022. Photo: Coincide

Company dissatisfaction

On the day the agreement was signed, Manuel Aizpuru wrote Uztarria to the media. This statement states that the company is "desolate" by the death of Soriano. They stress that he has always shown his willingness to cooperate with justice and has also shown his "dissatisfaction" with the information and statements made by different actors.

Not to mention the group with Elkar, some agents claim that he made "direct responsibility" for Soriano's death to the company and its manager, but in addition to showing "an absolute lack of knowledge about a serious event such as suicide," they argue that "social conditions themselves cannot explain suicide." According to the company, this has meant "insults and public criticism in the town square" and "unfair parallel judgment". They report that the information and statements that have been made public since the death occurred have never been compared with the company.

Agreement, "significant achievement"

Elkar-ekin welcomes the agreement by receiving "clear recognition" of the moral and material damage caused by the company, as well as the commitment to compensate.

They emphasize that in 2021 the testimony of the young man was made public and that in the following weeks many unfounded rumors spread in Azpeitia: "Questioning the testimony of their relatives, relativizing the event, taking off family defamation and distorting the causes of suicide, among other things." For this reason, they say, the important thing is that the recognition of moral and material damages has been included in the agreement, "because it annuls those defamations, because migrants are shadowed by stigma, suspicion and doubt."

Elkar-ekin members have also denounced that in recent months they have suffered "pressures, blackmail and defamation" to "silence their actions".

In the light of what was publicly stated by the company, without responding point by point, the anti-capitalist agent stressed the following. "To say companies that social conditions themselves cannot explain suicide, it surprises us. The causes of suicides are complex, but it is clear that social and material conditions (work, housing, pressure to reach the end of the month, abuse in a company, etc.) from the top down, human mental health. These situations are the basis of many psychological illnesses that have led to several cases of suicide. This is reflected, inter alia, in the judgments of several courts in similar cases."


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