The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Transport for London Travel Advice for Construction Workers is “Dangerous”, Says Unite

Transport for London Travel Advice for Construction Workers is “Dangerous”, Says Unite
02 February 2021
 

Advice from Transport for London that urges construction workers to avoid public transport and cycle instead is being criticised by Unite.

Unite, the UK’s construction union, is warning of the potential danger of such guidance.

Transport for London (TfL) issued guidance suggested that employers should allocate shifts starting and finishing around busy travel times (06:00 to 08:00 and 16:00 to 17:30) to workers who can walk or cycle to and from work.

Bosses should also attempt to stagger shifts and/or change operating hours to so workers can avoid travelling during the busiest times on the network (06:00 to 08:00 and 16:00 to 17:30).

Unite has reported that many workers will have round trips of over 15 miles into central London, and that expecting workers to cycle long distances during the winter, in the dark and in bad weather is “a recipe for serious accidents”.

 

“Unite remains highly concerned that there is an attempt to force workers onto bikes and expect them to cycle long distances in the dark and in winter weather, undertake a long shift and return home again. This is a recipe for tragedy and should not be encouraged.”

–Jerry Swain

National Officer for Construction, Unite

 

 

Advice to Stagger Shifts “Meaningless”

 

Unite is most concerned about the section of the advice that states: “Allocating those shifts starting and finishing around busy travel times (06:00 to 08:00 and 16:00 to 17:30) to workers who can walk or cycle to and from work:

“...The worker will be expected to cycle home in the dark, often after undertaking a physically demanding 10 plus hour shift, when fatigue will be a major factor.”

The union also warns that London’s roads, even for an experienced cyclist, can be dangerous and to ask someone who very likely has little or no experience of navigating London’s roads in the dark is “asking for trouble”.

The advice on staggering shifts apparently “fails to appreciate that staggering shifts can’t be based on where workers live but has to be based on teams of workers to ensure efficient working on-site”.

Unite is also concerned that other advice issued to London construction workers advises them to leave crowded stations or services if social distancing can’t be maintained, but unless there is provision at their site to allow a worker to be late, without penalty, such advice is “meaningless”.

 

Construction Workers are “Not Pariahs”

 

Unite National Officer for Construction Jerry Swain said: “The advice issued by TfL is welcome as it recognises that only major contractors can introduce measures to allow for the staggering of shifts.

“Although Unite is disappointed to note that there appears to be no plans to relax the Congestion Charge or parking restrictions for construction workers.

“It needs to be remembered that construction workers are not pariahs and should not be treated as such. They are going to work as the government has decided that this is appropriate and necessary.

“Unite remains highly concerned that there is an attempt to force workers onto bikes and expect them to cycle long distances in the dark and in winter weather, undertake a long shift and return home again. This is a recipe for tragedy and should not be encouraged.

“It is essential that construction workers are able to socially distance from when they leave home, until when they return home again at night.

“Workers will not avoid congested trains unless they know that if they are late they will not be penalised or victimised, which currently occurs all too frequently on sites.”

 

Transport for London’s Response

 

A spokesperson from TfL told ThisWeekinFM that “staggering shift times has had the biggest impact.”

They said: “On some sites, there has been as much as a 76 per cent reduction of site operatives not needing to use public transport, with over 30 sites specifically changing their working patterns impacting almost 5,000 operatives.”

TfL was keen to emphasise that they have been encouraging people who are able to walk or cycle to do so for the whole pandemic, although they recognise it is not possible for everyone.

Official advice for business travel can be found here

Picture: a photograph showing a docking station for London’s Santander cycles

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 02 February 2021

Share



Related Articles

A Third of Workers Miss Commuting

After working from home for almost a year, a third of UK workers say they miss their morning and evening commute. Recruiter Randstad UK, asked home workers how they...

 Read Full Article
I Want To Ride My Bicycle, I Want To Ride It Where I Like

Boris Bike customers cycled the equivalent of 65 return trips to the moon in 2018 - with more than 35,000 hires made on Christmas Day alone. For the first time, more...

 Read Full Article
British Library Extension to Include Commercial Office Space

The British Library is to have an 800,000 sq ft extension to its King’s Cross site, with construction beginning in 2023. There will also be 100,000 sq ft of new...

 Read Full Article
ABM Accused of Risking Tube Staff’s Safety Whilst Doubling Profits 

London Underground's cleaners have been left overstretched by cutbacks to staff numbers and do not receive the same pension provision as TfL colleagues, according to...

 Read Full Article
Travelling Back to the Office Safely - Planning for FMs

Planning how employees can travel back to the office safely and efficiently will be a major focus for many FM professionals, according to research by ParkOffice. 15+...

 Read Full Article
Transport for London Backs Increased Pedestrianisation for COVID Economic Recovery

Research from Transport for London shows that people who walk to the high street spend 40 per cent more over a month than people who drive. Walking and cycling can...

 Read Full Article
TfL Supplier Zoono Provides Explanation for Withdrawn Longevity Claims

Zoono UK, manufacturer of a sanitising product used by Transport for London, has confirmed additional information regarding its previously withdrawn claim that it can...

 Read Full Article
Business Travel – Uber Confirms Safety Measures After Success Against TfL

With the news that Uber can continue to operate in London after a successful court appeal, what security measures is the company taking to reassure its...

 Read Full Article
More Sustainable Commuting Could Save Ten Billion Kg of CO2e

Revolutionising the commute is key to reducing UK carbon emissions, new research from Mobilityways argues. To mark World Car Free Day (22 September), Mobilityways has...

 Read Full Article
Research Suggests Home Workers’ Travel Habits are Unsustainable 

Research examining the travel patterns of home workers has revealed that working outside the office can encourage unsustainable transport patterns, increased car...

 Read Full Article