|Volume 50 Number 12, April 4, 2020||ARCHIVE||HOME||JBCENTRE||SUBSCRIBE|
Unite the trade union has asked members on construction sites to submit photographic evidence of unsafe working conditions. In this way, the union is maintaining a level-headed response and taking its social responsibility seriously. Plenty of evidence has been presented across the country, including Scotland.
There is great concern from the public and workers about non-essential work demanded by employers, particularly of construction workers in London where coronavirus is rampant. Workers are slamming employer complacency during this pandemic. The public transport workers on buses and tube, construction workers and others are all raising their voices in concern over the risk of contagion.
The union is concerned that members are being placed in situations where they cannot comply with social distancing guidelines and are asking for evidence to present to employers. Unite has called for the government to make sure sites are safe.
Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail told union-news.co.uk: "It's not for us to call for the sites to close. It's for us to say workers' safety is of paramount importance, to inform workers what rights they have and to remove the obstacles between workers feeling they have the Hobson's choice of risking their health or poverty and hunger."
Also, more than half of construction workers are classified as self-employed, so Unite has been involved in discussions with the Treasury over payments to them. There must be guarantees over their rights to a livelihood.
In Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon called for all construction sites in Scotland to close after photographic evidence emerged of workers crowded in a small room. London Mayor Sadiq Khan has also made this call, but was overruled by the Prime Minister.