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Workers on Canonbury’s Dover Court Estate ‘laid off for going to work in shorts’

PUBLISHED: 09:20 19 July 2018 | UPDATED: 13:00 20 July 2018

A site foreman and two bricklayers on the Dover Court Estate. Picture: Lucas Cumiskey

A site foreman and two bricklayers on the Dover Court Estate. Picture: Lucas Cumiskey

Archant

Workers on the Dover Court Estate whose heavy-duty uniforms left them “boiled alive” in the heatwave claim they were laid off for coming to work in shorts.

A view of a construction site on the Dover Court Estate through a metal fence. Picture: Lucas CumiskeyA view of a construction site on the Dover Court Estate through a metal fence. Picture: Lucas Cumiskey

The seven men, all from Islington, are sub-contracted through GRT Builders Ltd, which is employed by Lovell on the site between Dove Road and Balls Pond Road.

Site foreman Terry Draper and six of his bricklayers turned up to work in shorts on Monday, saying it was too hot to wear their full-body gear.

“It’s sweltering,” said Terry. “Why not let us wear shorts and show some common sense?

“We can’t breathe. We have been getting boiled alive. This is insanity and it’s a sinister working environment.”

The men were told to go home and change but they refused, saying they didn’t think it was safe to work in the heat.

“I’m the working foreman so responsibility comes down to me,” said Terry. “They won’t take responsibility for it, so if one of my men drops dead and has a heart attack I will be done.”

Nolan Finan, a bricklayer from Highbury, added: “I understand I have to wear safety gear like boots, gloves and a helmet but it’s the legs where I get heat rash and I feel lethargic in this heat.”

After refusing to change, the men claim the site manager told them to leave the site.

But a Lovell spokesperson denied this happened, and said: “We put the highest priority on health and safety.

“A number of brickworkers working for a subcontractor at this site were asked to go home [on Monday] because they were not wearing the correct personal protective safety clothing and equipment.

“These workers were asked by Lovell to return [on Tuesday] and undergo a further health and safety induction before continuing to work on the site.” But Roy claims when the men returned, instead of receiving the induction they were simply told by the site manager to go home and not come back. Lovell subsequently told the Gazette it does not directly employ any of the men and therefore could not have fired them. The Gazette approached GRT Builders Ltd for comment but we was told the person we needed to speak to did not want to say anything.

Islington Council said it “strongly supported” workplace health and safety, but added it was contractors’ responsibility.

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