Call to close major construction sites to protect workers amid lockdown

Plaid Cymru have said all major construction sites should be ordered to close down to protect the health and well-being of workers.

Last night, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a series of strict and drastic restrictions to suppress the Coronavirus. However, construction sites remain open and operational.

Plaid Cymru Shadow Minister for the Economy Helen Mary Jones said many builders had turned up to work at building sites this morning.

Pointing out that it would be “impossible” to operate most construction sites “consistently at a safe distance”, the Shadow Minister said that unless the Welsh Government issued an order to cease “all but essential civil engineering work” then contractors would risk being sued by their clients if they closed down of their own accord due to safety concerns.

Ms Jones said it was “unacceptable and unethical” to continue asking workers to work on site, thereby risking their health and the health of others unnecessarily.

If instructed by government to close, companies could claim “force majeure” and relief and the salary including time and costs, under the contracts. Ms Jones said the sites could then be “closed down safely” and workers would have 80% of their salary paid for by the UK Government.

Ms Jones added that Plaid Cymru would keep pushing to ensure those affected financially by these necessarily stringent measures would be supported.

 

Ms Jones said not to close non-essential construction sites would risk making the new restrictions being seen as a lockdown “in all but name”.


Shadow economy minister Helen Mary Jones AM
said,

“The morning after the UK Prime Minister announced strict measures to suppress the Coronavirus, queues have been forming outside construction and building sites with thousands of builders having to turn up to work. 

“It is impossible to operate most construction sites consistently at a safe distance but unless the Welsh Government issues an order to cease all but essential civil engineering work then contractors will be sued by their clients for late delivery.

“In a sector dominated by health and safety at work it is unacceptable and unethical to continue asking workers to risk their health and others unnecessarily and risk further spreading the virus.

“However, if instructed to close, companies can claim force majeure and claim relief – including time and costs, under the contracts. The sites can then be closed down safely and send workers home with 80% of their salary paid for by the UK Government.

“We’ll keep pushing to ensure those affected financially by these necessarily stringent measures are supported.

 

“The Government must therefore close all non-essential construction sites or this risks being seen as a lockdown in all but name.

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