Construction work boots and construction contract are back in the hands of construction workers in some areas of England after they were banned in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster.
The ban came after the government announced a plan to create a new, higher safety standard for new construction work and a new £3,000 minimum wage for those working in the construction sector.
There were also calls for the Government to ban the use of the word ‘garden’ in contracts to describe new construction and the banning of ‘gifts’ and ‘services’.
In the aftermath of the disaster, which saw more than 1,000 people killed and more than £100m of damage, the Government announced it would make improvements to the safety of the construction industry.
In total, about £3bn of contracts have been scrapped and some of the new work is likely to be done by contractors and contractors have had to start working at lower levels to protect the existing workforce.
However, there are concerns that new construction contractors are working in unsafe conditions, with some workers being denied sick pay or other benefits.
Workers who are working for new contractors have told the BBC they have been refused food, accommodation and other benefits and some have been told to stay home on holidays.
But, in some cases, workers have been given work in temporary accommodation in the building sites after being given temporary contracts.
Many of the contracts were awarded in the last six months, with a total of 2,700 contracts given for new work in the past six months.
One contractor in the North West of England, R&C Contractors, was awarded a £1.2m contract for a new road in Dorset, despite there being no road on the site, the BBC reported.
Another contractor, C&=amp Co, was given a £2.5m contract to do work on a £5m refurbishment of a church in Oxfordshire.
A total of 6,000 contracts have also been awarded in North Yorkshire and the East Midlands.
R&-Co, which has been awarded more than 500 contracts since the Grenff Tower disaster, said the Government’s move to create an ‘industry standard’ was not “a good start” and that the ban would affect thousands of jobs.
“The safety of construction work is not being compromised in any way, shape or form,” said a spokesman.
Other contractors have criticised the Government for not doing more to improve safety.
Andrew Wills, of the Construction Workers Union (CWT), said: “There has been a complete breakdown in terms of safety standards and standards in terms the safety measures that have been put in place and it’s been very difficult to see how this is a positive step forward.”
He said the ban was “unnecessary and not working”.
The Government said it had set up an expert committee to examine safety standards, and has also appointed a Safety Review Panel to look into the issues raised by the contractors.
Mr Wills said the contractors should be given time to review their safety plans before the ban goes into effect.
Meanwhile, the construction unions have criticised new safety measures, including a new mandatory fire extinguisher system and a ban on the use in new work of fire hoses.
CWT general secretary Richard Pickles said: “[The Government] have created an industry standard, but this is not the industry standard.”
Construction workers in the Midlands have also criticised the ban.
An R&am Contractor in Cumbria said it was not clear why the ban had been put on new construction contracts.
It’s been there for quite a long time.”