London: Excessive working hours as deadline looms

source: ConstructionNews.co.uk

London: Excessive working hours as deadline looms Tottenham's new stadium is rushing towards the finish line. It's very exciting to watch, but perhaps excessively tiring to work there. 80 hours per week (and extra time on top of that!) seems too much by any standard.

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Stadium labour conditions are a resurfacing debate issue, as with all major construction project. We're used to criticism of Qatar (well deserved!), but recent investigation by the Construction News reveals worker issues appear also in other projects.

Just last week the website revealed requirements of 60-hour weeks from workers employed for subcontractors, despite legal requirement putting a limit of 48 hours per week. The only way to waive such cap is for the worker to opt out from legal protection, which is also required by the employers in this case, upon signing up.

Today an even more audacious case was brought up as follow-up of the investigative report. Electricians employed for one of the Spurs' stadium subcontractors are expected to work 80 hours per week (7 days, 12 hours on weekdays and 10 hours on weekends) without option of reduction, but they can take extra time if they wish. Rates of £2,200 per week may sound tempting enough to some.

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium© Mr Av

At the same time, however, CN alarms that some workers were unaware that they had been opted out. Meanwhile, workers were threatened that, should they leave their job, they would be blocked from working for the client for specific time periods.

There is no indication that the general contractor, Mace, knew of such practices. Informed by CN, the company informed subcontractors about the necessity to observe safe working hours. Mace also invited any and all affected workers to report abuses, even if anonymously.

We should remind our readers that the 62,000+ stadium is expected to see its first test event open to the public on August 27, when Spurs and Brighton and Hove Albion U23 teams will face each other. Second public test event is planned for September 1 (Spurs and Bayern legends), while official opening game will follow on September 15, against Liverpool in the Premier League.

The £800+ million project is Europe's most expensive private stadium currently under construction. It's also one of the most technologically-advanced football venues ever built. While construction continues almost around the clock, Tottenham workers had their first orientation day last weekend, preparing to move in.

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