Workers and developers in Cyprus are calling on the government to include construction sites in the coronavirus-mandated lockdown since health and safety measures taken there seem to be limited.
“They consider construction sites as open spaces but they don’t really know the real work conditions which are dangerous,” Costas Roushas who heads the Cyprus Developers Association told Phileleftheros.
“To begin with, construction is a team work and no safety measures can apply due to its nature,” he added.
Roushas also said that 90% of the work takes place indoors and hygiene rules cannot be respected since there are not even available masks. As for gloves, these are torn up by bricks.
Workers also expressed fear over a large number of them getting together in one car, while the Cyprus Architects Association are concerned over their health safety since they have to oversee construction activities.
“Vulnerable groups stay at home, with their families. But what about a site’s caretaker or a security officer?,” he asked.
Construction sites face a serious health and safety issue because the risk there is double: both of an accident at work and of the coronavirus outbreak, Roushas said.
That’s why the solution is the inclusion of the construction industry in the official lockdown decree, he added, noting that there are sufficient European funds towards that end.
As for right-wing Sek trade union chief, Andreas Matsas, he said they received information that workers in the 60 and above age group have been illegally fired.
“We took these cases before the Labour Ministry and we are waiting to see what happens next. Employers cannot and should not take advantage of the situation,” he said.
By Demetra Landou