UCATT calls on Government to act on bereaved workers report

Construction union UCATT have called on the Government to act on a report that calls for statutory leave for workers after a loved one dies.

The report produced by the National Council for Palliative Care found that 32% of people who had been bereaved in the last five years felt their employer did not treat them with compassion. The report which was produced in partnership with the Dying Matters Coalition says 87% of people surveyed felt all employers should have a compassionate employment policy including paid bereavement leave, flexible working and other support.

The lack of statutory bereavement leave is a major issue for construction workers, many of whom work for employers who have unenlightened bereavement policies. This causes further stress and tension for workers at a time when they are already suffering extremely high levels of grief.

For the past decade UCATT have been campaigning for the Construction Industry Joint Council (CIJC) the largest industrial agreement in the construction industry to introduce rules on statutory bereavement leave. Currently, the agreement just includes a joint secretaries note, which is best practice advice and not binding. However construction employers have consistently rejected requests to introduce statutory bereavement leave as it has a “cost implication” for them.

Steve Murphy, General Secretary of UCATT, said: “Statutory bereavement leave is urgently needed. Workers who lose a loved one are deeply traumatised, often in shock and are grieving. To refuse them bereavement leave is a simple case of penny pinching and an entirely false economy.”

Mr Murphy added: “We have always believed that there are serious safety implications in forcing deeply traumatised workers to work in dangerous industries such as construction. Workers who are unable to concentrate due to grief are a safety risk to themselves and their colleagues.”

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