Unite, the UK’s construction union, has accused Westminster council and the Health and Safety Executive of inaction which could place workers lives in danger, after it notified both organisations of workers illegally living on a construction site in St Johns’ Wood.
Unite was alerted that workers were living on the construction site at Abercorn Place, The Cricketers Estate, in St Johns Wood. A situation that is highly dangerous.
Unite investigated these concerns and found a group of migrant workers who were involved in renovating several apartment blocks were indeed living on the site. The renovation is being undertaken by Kunta Kinte Ltd.
Unite regional officer Paul Lomax observed a green sofa, clothes hanging on a washing line, several mattresses and bedding along with several food containers at the site.
Early this month, Mr Lomax wrote to the chief executive of Westminster council, Westminster building control department and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) with his concerns and urged them to take urgent action as the workers were potentially in serious physical danger.
Despite the urgent nature of his letter Mr Lomax has received no response after having raised the alarm.
Paul Lomax said:
“It is highly alarming that after raising serious safety questions where workers face death or serious injury, Unite’s concerns have been totally ignored.
“Workers must never be allowed to live on a construction site, the potential for serious injury is huge and there are also massive occupational health issues that need to be considered.
“It is absolutely imperative that Westminster council and the HSE immediately take responsibility for this dangerous site and ensure that no one is living on this or any other building site.
“Legal action needs to be taken against any companies, contractors or sub-contractors that have allowed these dangerous practices to occur.”
Kunta Kinte Ltd ownership of the site is controversial as the company has acquired the freehold of the site and almost all of the 34 properties. The houses were built by the local council in the 1950s. Westminster Labour councillor Paul Dimoldenberg has previously called for an inquiry into the ownership issues.