Shut The Sites blockade the London headquarters of construction giant MACE, whose CEO – Mark Reynolds – is a spokesperson for the Construction Leadership Council.
Video of the action here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTrPZG16SIY
The CLC have just shockingly announced that construction needs to stay open and social distancing for coronavirus can be ignored for up to 15 minutes at a time, if a job cannot be carried out by one person alone. This watering down of official guidelines for building sites will pass on infection to their family members and send hundreds to their deaths.
No construction worker wants to put their family at risk, but they also need to pay their rent, which is why the electrician, bricklayer, carpenter, engineer and union safety rep who participated in the direct action also called on the government to pay every worker, irrespective of whether they are a direct employee, self-employed or an agency worker.
Shut The Sites activist went on to blockade a nearby Laing O’Rourke’s building site, sending a clear message to the CLC, major contractors and the government – if you don’t shut down construction and keep people safe, then workers are going to do it themselves.
The protest took place of 28th April – International Workers Memorial Day The global Day of Action by unions over deaths in the workplace. The slogan for #IWMD20 is “Mourn the Dead – Fight for the Living”. So after the protest, the construction workers paid their respects to their fellow workers who had died at the bronze ‘Building Worker’ statue at Tower Hill in London. Shut The Sites spokesperson, Dan Dobson said “#ShutTheSites is taking off as a grassroots movement on construction sites across the UK, made up of workers who disagree with the Government policy of keeping sites open. At least 100 NHS/Care workers now died from Covid-19, the Government have shown that it cannot protect or provide PPE for the genuine front line key workers, so how are non essential construction workers meant to fare? All non-critical sites need to be stopped and all workers need to be paid, regardless of their employment status.”
Note: A full risk assessment was carried out prior to the action, full PPE was provided and control measures were put in place to reduce transmission of COVID-19. Link to Shut The Sites Press Release – 28/04/2020 – Shut The Sites IWMD Body Bag Protest