A north-east construction worker has accused his bosses of putting “production over lives” after allegedly being told to “continue as normal” despite cases of Covid being found on sites.
The whistleblower claimed that several Cala Homes sites across the north-east have cases of Covid, with workers being told to “continue as normal” and that it is “nothing to do with them”.
Cala is building properties at sites including Craibstone, Cults, Grandholm and Persley Den, and the worker suggested that managers and other workers often travel between the sites.
They have contractors travelling from Dundee and Montrose to carry out work on the sites, and everyone is forced to work together according to the worker.
He also claimed that Cala Homes do not provide the workers with face masks or hand sanitiser.
He said: “We’re around everybody and they’re not protecting us, some sites have got no running water for us, no hot water for us, no ventilation in the facilities.
“We’ve all just been left to it as long as the houses keep getting built.”
Cala Homes have refuted this and insisted there is running water on all of their sites.
Fear of ‘losing out’ on Christmas because of Covid
The whistleblower claimed that workers are not to talk about Covid, and if they do they are “ostracised from everyone, disciplined and bullied”.
He added: “That’s across all their developments, there’s a few of us who speak about it and all feel the same, that this is just getting out of hand now.
“We’re getting told that people are on holiday when really, they’re at home because they tested positive.”
In June, another worker alleged that Cala Homes told staff if they go home showing symptoms, or even go for a test, they will not get their wage.
The worker said this is “ongoing” and if anyone does test positive on site for Covid, those who were in close contact are told to wait for track and trace which could take a few days.
He said the threat of not being paid is an effective “deterrent” for anyone to self-isolate.
“Obviously, we’re all a bit concerned,” he said. “We’ve all got kids and some of the kids are poorly at the moment and it’s coming up to Christmas.
“You don’t want to lose money this time of year.
“If any of us was to get it then we’re going to end up losing out on our Christmas.
“It seems to us that it is production over lives, really. Sounds a bit extreme, but that’s what it is really, people are dying from it.
“As long as they keep production up our family and our health doesn’t matter.”
Cala Homes insist measures are ‘robust and appropriate’
However, a spokeswoman for Cala Homes North insisted that following an investigation into the raised concerns, the company “remain confident” they have all the appropriate safety measures in place.
She said: “The safety of those working on our sites is our number one priority and we have robust health and safety procedures, and strict Covid-specific measures, in place to help protect our team, our customers and local communities.
“These policies are continually reviewed to ensure they reflect the latest Government guidance.
“When we are informed of Covid cases, we act swiftly and in line with Government advice and Cala’s own robust policies.
“We support staff who need to get tested or self-isolate and require anyone with symptoms of the virus or who test positive to remain off site and isolate as per Government guidelines.
“We have been made aware of the concerns raised, these have been investigated and we remain confident that we have robust and appropriate safety measures in place across our sites.”