Unite, the UK’s construction union, is extremely disappointed that the government has rejected recommendations to introduce a maximum working temperature.

The Environmental Select Committee published a report in July titled Heatwaves: adapting to climate change, which recommended that workers operating in temperatures above 28 degrees should have a reduced dress code and flexible working should be allowed.

However the government has rejected the recommendations out of hand.

This year’s hot summer highlighted the challenges faced by construction workers operating both outdoors and indoors during this period.

While some employers made provisions such as flexible working, allowing additional breaks and providing free water to workers, other less responsible employers failed to make any additional provision for their workers.

Unite national officer for construction Jerry Swain said: “This shows the arrogance of government and just how out of touch the Tories are with the lives of ordinary workers, many of whom suffered extreme heat distress while at work this summer.

“The government received an entirely reasonable report from a cross party group of MPs and they just dismissed it out of hand.

“The government’s inaction is giving a green light to the cowboys who ignore workers’ welfare.

“By failing to take action the government is making life more difficult for the good employers who try to do the right thing and look after the welfare of workers as they fear they are being placed at a commercial disadvantage.

“Construction and all workers deserve to be treated better than this, there need to be clear enforceable regulations ensuring that employers take responsibility for workers’ welfare in all forms of extreme weather.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

IOSH magazine: Government has ‘no plans’ for maximum working temperature

For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.

  • Unite represents workers in Britain and Ireland with members across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.