Working conditions to be probed at Spurs stadium – report

The Government has been urged to investigate working conditions at Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium after a report suggested staff on site are being paid extra to work back-to-back 12-hour shifts.

An email seen by Construction News said workers are being offering an extra four hours’ pay if they work four, consecutive 12-hour shifts.

Construction News has also uncovered a series of job adverts for roles involving 16-hour days and 80-hour weeks on the site in north London. The posts said the project “has to be kept to extremely tight deadlines”.

English Premier League football club Tottenham had hoped to begin playing its home games at the new stadium by the start of the 2018-19 season, but a delay in work means the team will not play a competitive game at the facility until mid-September.

Opening up to Construction News about the issue, one worker, who left the site due to the quality of working conditions, said intensity at the site has increased after a number of test events were confirmed for this month.

“All our supervisors came and said, ‘It’s crunch time, we need you to do a lot more work’,” the unnamed worker said.

“There were so many people there when you were walking round the corner you’d nearly be being hit in the face by stuff. Compared to other jobs it just seemed very rushed.

“One of my colleagues – an experienced electrician – said he felt he should go to the Health and Safety Executive, he’d never worked on a site like that.

“He reckoned it was overcrowded and there were too many trades. There was an accident waiting to happen.”

Mace, which is overseeing work at the site, said that it was “aware of the risks of overworking on such a busy project” and stressed it is carrying out random spot checks with subcontractors to ensure staff working longer hours are granted adequate breaks and rest periods.

It is not thought that Mace had any involvement with posting adverts for longer working hours. Construction News said these were post by recruitment agencies.

Mace added: “The health, safety and wellbeing of everyone working on our projects is our highest priority, and we are committed to making sure that everyone on our projects goes home safely at the end of each day.

“As with any project, there is always room for improvement, and we are constantly working with our client, supply chain and operatives to identify areas where we need to do better.”

Labour MP Justin Madders, shadow minister for labour, has also responded to the report, calling on the government to take action and ensure that working conditions are up to standard at the site.

Madders said: “Terms and conditions that put the welfare of workers at risk are unacceptable and the source of these adverts must be thoroughly investigated as a matter of urgency.

“This is a high-profile project which should be founded on a gold standard of health and safety. A tight timeframe is no excuse for working conditions that can put people at risk.

“The government must act immediately to ensure all those working on Tottenham’s stadium are doing so safely and are not being forced to work dangerously long hours.”