UCATT officials are concerned that workplace safety is being compromised on two of Scotland’s most high-profile construction projects.
They say that bosses have downgraded their commitment to healthy industrial relations and workplace safety by failing to reappoint union convenors.
Both the new Forth Bridge/Queensferry Crossing and the Aberdeen West Peripheral Route (AWPR) have suffered serious accidents during undergoing construction.
Each project saw UCATT convenors trained in health and safety but when these convenors were appointed union officials and relocated off site, management on both projects rejected the idea of replacement convenors.
In April this year a 60-year-old worker was killed on the Forth Bridge construction site when he was hit by a moving boom on a crane. Another man was injured.
UCATT Scotland, Regional Secretary, Steve Dillon, said: “We were all shocked at the death on the Forth Bridge site and the scale of the accident in Aberdeen. These are both huge, high profile, public-funded projects where we and the general public would expect to find the highest, most stringent levels of health and safety provision – and, of course, continual scrutiny. Our convenors are trained in health and safety. One of their roles is to pre-empt problems and be another set of trained eyes on such vast projects.”
Unions are fearful that the decision not to reappoint new convenors shows that major companies have not learned past lessons and are failing to engage with the union movement, potentially creating longer term problems.