Unite the union has called for ‘tougher measures’ to combat the coronavirus, as it reveals it has been ‘inundated’ with reports of non-essential construction work

On Friday (27 March), Unite welcomed the instruction by the Scottish government to close construction sites not linked to the health service.

The country’s leading construction trade union had been inundated by reports during the week that construction workers were continuing to turn up to work at non-essential construction sites and were having to use public transport or shared transport in order to comply with employer requests or face losing wages.

The Sighthill regeneration project

Unite the union has called for ‘tougher measures’ as it responded to an article published in the Glasgow Times featuring the construction contractor Morgan Sindall involved in the £25m Sighthill Transformational Regeneration Area.

It is reported to be the largest regeneration project in the UK outside of London with hundreds of new homes, shops and businesses to be located on the site alongside a new road bridge over the Glasgow to Edinburgh railway line.

The project is scheduled to re-open today (30 March).

Pat Rafferty, Unite Scottish secretary, said: “The Scottish government’s instruction is not being adhered to and tougher measures must be brought forward with immediate effect.

“It’s absolutely staggering that the Sighthill regeneration project is scheduled to re-open on Monday.”

“We need to ensure that workers’ pay including the self-employed are not harmed by the decision to close construction sites down which is why many workers continue to turn up.”

Rafferty added: “Many construction workers regularly shift between direct employment, self-employment and agency work. The reality of this means that there is confusion between what schemes they can access.

“This is why construction workers should be declared as employees and covered by the employee income support scheme. The Scottish government should be saying to Morgan Sindall and any other company that the rules in Scotland are that they are carrying out non-essential work, they must shut down and pay their workers.”

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