Unite, the UK’s largest union, is calling on the Scottish government to launch an immediate investigation after it was revealed that employment agencies have been advertising for workers to operate for 15 hours a day or 80 hours a week on the highly troubled Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR).
The adverts were reported by Construction News. In one advert a wheeled excavator driver sought for “up to 15 hours a day plus weekends for 10-15 weeks”. In a separate advert, 2 360-wheeled drivers were sought to work for “70-80 hours a week for a 6 to 8 week period”.
The joint venture project, which is now being built by Balfour Beatty and Galliford Try following the collapse of Carillion earlier this year, is massively behind schedule and has a very poor safety record.
Unite regional co-ordinating officer, Steve Dillon, raised his concerns about the abuses on the project with Transport Scotland today (11 July) concerning the flouting of working hour regulations and the proper monitoring of hours worked on the project.
Work should be stopped
Steve Dillon said: “The latest revelations about the Aberdeen bypass project are disgusting, such long hours are lethal. Workers cannot work safely undertaking such long hours, this is exactly how mistakes occur and too often result in tragic accidents.
“This is the latest scandal to hit the troubled Aberdeen bypass and the Scottish government and the Health and Safety Executive simply can no longer sweep these problems under the carpet. There must be an immediate investigation into what is occurring and if necessary work should be stopped to ensure that safe, legal processes are in place.
“The rush to finish this already delayed project must not in any way be at the expense of workers’ safety or conditions.
“Balfour Beatty and Galliford Try must be held fully accountable for these adverts. It is their project and they can’t try to pass the blame onto others. To suggest they don’t know what is happening on their own site is simply not acceptable.”