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‘Why is my life less important?’: Scots construction workers call for sites to close

TWO construction workers in Scotland have said they do not feel safe at work, with one claiming they “are being treated like we are expendable by the government”.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said her cabinet met on Tuesday to discuss further restrictions to combat the spread of the virus – any changes will be outlined to the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday.

In an update on January 7, Sturgeon said: “In the last lockdown, of course non-essential construction and manufacturing didn’t operate for a period. They’ve both done an awful lot to make their operations safer, but we have to keep all of that under review.”

Construction workers will be among those listening carefully – with construction work currently being allowed to continue, many feel unsafe in their surroundings.

“I am working on a site where houses cost an average of £400,000,” one said.

“There is not one form of affordable housing on this site and I feel that the only reason I am working is to fund the corporate greed.

“I do not feel safe at work, I feel as if I am just another number that could be replaced tomorrow.

“I understand the effect construction sites would have on the economy if they shut down, however, construction workers are being treated like we are expendable by the government.

“If this is an essential business then why have I not been told I am a key worker, and surely if I am a key worker then I should be one of the first in line for a vaccine?”

READ MORE: NHS Lanarkshire postpones non-urgent surgeries as Covid cases rise

The worker said that their site accommodates around 150 people, and while face masks are compulsory and signs remind people to social distance, masks are rarely worn and advice appears to go unheeded.

“People from different households and areas are car sharing cars, vans and other means of transport with no means of social distancing and no face masks present,” they said.

“People are coming from all around the country to the one site where this virus can spread. Although there are safety regulations in place there is simply no way you can enforce these rules to well over 100 people.

“One guy said that ‘if the government are saying it’s safe to work why would I have to listen to meaningless rules that will slow down my income?’ “What we are all hoping for is that (Nicola Sturgeon) comes out and announces that construction should close.”

READ MORE: Scotland’s Covid death toll passes grim milestone as another 54 people die

Another construction worker in Glasgow said they would “feel more safe in a battlefield”.

They said: “It’s horrible and unsafe. Guys are travelling to and from work sharing vans, cars and even mini buses.

“(It’s) just a waiting game on when you are going to catch this virus from selfish, inconsiderate people.

“Construction and factory workers’ health and safety is just as important as any office worker or non-essential worker in the country.

“We are not and should not be used (as) test puppets, as we all also have parents, kids, grandparents etc to return home to.”

It comes as 54 more people died of coronavirus in Scotland.

READ MORE: Scotland’s Covid death toll passes grim milestone as another 54 people die

The latest deaths, recorded in the past 24 hours among patients who tested positive in the previous 28 days, bring the total under that measurement to 5023.

Nicola Sturgeon, speaking at the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing, said the figures were “particularly distressing” today because the daily measurement death toll has now exceeded 5000.

A further 1875 cases were also recorded, with a positivity rate of 12%. The total number of cases now stands at 153,423.

Some 1717 people were in hospital yesterday with recently confirmed Covid-19, an increase of 53 in 24 hours. Of those, 133 were in intensive care, a rise of seven.

The First Minister said those figures highlight the stress the NHS is under, noting that during the initial peak in April hospital admissions were just over 1500.

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