Rail jobs, staff issues and training

19.12.16

Crossrail documents reveal ‘lack of welfare’ for workers on site

Workers helping to build certain sections of Crossrail’s extensive tunnels have faced volatile, cramped conditions and physical and mental exhaustion, internal documents released by the construction union Ucatt have revealed.

An email chain sent in September between Crossrail’s main contractor, the ATC consortium, and Crossrail bosses has revealed worrying problems regarding the construction of the rail line, especially on the Fisher Street site, highlighting a “lack of/no welfare in the tunnel” and staff having to spend miles walking to the toilet, with Crossrail apparently also monitoring protestors.

These are the latest in a string of claims about poor welfare standards relating to Crossrail, with the Health and Safety Executive announcing a few weeks ago that three contractors are set to face prosecution over three alleged breaches of safety on site.

Jerry Swain, regional secretary for Ucatt’s London and south east region, said: “Our members have told us that they are working until they are physically exhausted and have to undertake tasks which are beyond their skill levels.

“This would be disgusting on any project but this is the flagship public sector project in London. It seems because the workers are underground their health and welfare is out of mind.”

The emails stated that only one turnstile was being used for entering and exiting Crossrail’s Fisher Street site, creating delays of 20 minutes, and that workers on site were perceived to be “mentally and physically exhausted”.

Other emails obtained by Ucatt appear to suggest that Crossrail monitored a protest about workers’ welfare on 29 September with a staff member at the protest sending in regular updates, leading to concerns that protestors would potentially be blacklisted.

ATC said that the issues raised in the emails date back to September of this year and have now been addressed. An ATC spokesperson added that the consortium was working with Crossrail to provide “a safe working environment” for its staff.

“This is a priority for us. We are working on a complex engineering and construction project which, at times, presents logistical constraints and challenges. Through an open dialogue with colleagues we have taken action to address and resolve challenges as they have arisen,” the spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for Crossrail stated that all its contractors are required to adhere to health and safety legislation, adding that all its sites “have welfare and toilet facilities which includes the provision of chemical toilets below ground where required”.

However, an early day motion lodged by MPs in parliament last month suggested that problems are still ongoing. Dated 22 November, the motion highlighted “totally substandard welfare facilities” and workers being forced to work until they are “physically exhausted”. Crossrail has not yet responded to these fresh accusations.

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here 

Comments

Rup   20/12/2016 at 09:28

Disgraceful.

Paul   20/12/2016 at 20:07

It sounds dangerous to me.

Add your comment

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Network Rail announces major sell-off of entire commercial portfolio

17/11/2017Network Rail announces major sell-off of entire commercial portfolio

Network Rail will seek a major cash boost through the sale of its commercial property portfolio in England and Wales, announced today. The i... more >
Boosting workforce safety through design automation

17/11/2017Boosting workforce safety through design automation

David Shipman, innovations engineering manager in IP Signalling at Network Rail, makes the case for safeguarding the industry’s workforce t... more >
Rail risk: reality and perception

17/11/2017Rail risk: reality and perception

George Bearfield, director of system safety and health at the RSSB, looks at risk – reality and perception – and how the industry nee... more >

editor's comment

04/09/2017A series of incredible events

There are a couple of announcements I’d like to make in this editor’s comment, which I believe could be very beneficial to many of our readers.  Firstly, the deadline is fast approaching to enter the UK Rail Industry Awards (UKRIA), which will take place on 22 March 2018 at Battersea Evolution in London.  Now in its fifth year, UKRIA continues to bring together the leaders and decision-makers running the rail ... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the... more > more last word articles >

'the sleeper's' daily blog

Looking back over HS1, 10 years on

14/11/2017Looking back over HS1, 10 years on

While the HS2 project continues to gain ground and press ahead with major contracts despite recent staffing controversies, today sees its older, considerably smaller sibling turn 10 years old. HS1, the line running between St Pancras International and the Channel Tunnel, was completed at a total cost of £7.3bn a full 16 years after its announcement in 1991. A decade on and looking back at the project, it is possible to see th... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Boosting workforce safety through design automation

17/11/2017Boosting workforce safety through design automation

David Shipman, innovations engineering manager in IP Signalling at Network Rail, makes the case for safeguarding the industry’s workforce t... more >
Rail risk: reality and perception

17/11/2017Rail risk: reality and perception

George Bearfield, director of system safety and health at the RSSB, looks at risk – reality and perception – and how the industry nee... more >
The new era of station retail

17/11/2017The new era of station retail

Hamish Kiernan, commercial director of retail at Network Rail Property, explains how investment in better retail outlets is transforming the cust... more >
Digital connectivity fit for the 2020s

17/11/2017Digital connectivity fit for the 2020s

Raj Sivalingam, executive director for telecommunications and spectrum at techUK, makes the case for pan-industry collaboration in order to deplo... more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Modernising journeys in north east England

09/11/2017Modernising journeys in north east England

First Hull Trains is about to embark on the biggest fleet overhaul it has delivered since being set up in 2000. Managing director Will Dunnett te... more >