Living on a construction site is never acceptable

UCATT have warned workers that it is never acceptable to be expected to live on a construction site as there are likely to be massive safety and welfare implications.

UCATT reiterated their advice after it was reported this week that six Latvian workers had been living in portakabins style accommodation on a Homes and Communities Agency owned site in Hood Street, Manchester. The workers were living in the car park of Jactin House a former mill workers hostel which is currently undergoing a multi-million pound transformation.

Ren Davies, Acting Regional Secretary for UCATT North West, said: “Workers should never be asked to live on a construction site, it is likely to be both dangerous and with poor welfare facilities. Even in exceptional cases where accommodation is provided it must be entirely separate from the site where work is being undertaken.

The principal contractor on the site is Northern group. While agreeing to move the workers from the site, they also stated that the accommodation provided were “very similar to that used by workers on the Olympic Park.” However workers on the Olympic Park did not live on site and no form of temporary accommodation was provided for them. Instead workers lived at home or found lodgings throughout London.

The concerns about the sub-standard accommodation underline the need for the Gangmasters Licensing Act to be extended to the construction industry. If construction was part of the GLA and workers were placed in such sub-standard accommodation, then the company concerned could lose its licence and could no longer supply workers.

Mr Davies, said: “UCATT believes that expanding the Gangmasters Act to cover the construction industry would be a massive step in stamping out these type of abuses.”

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