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Mayor Johnson 'ignored' pre-death safety concerns

Ucatt blasts Boris Johnson for ignoring legitimate safety concerns

Construction union Ucatt blasted London Mayor Boris Johnson yesterday for ignoring its legitimate safety concerns.

Eight building workers died in London last year - double the 2011 toll.

Ucatt regional secretary Jerry Swain wrote to Mr Johnson (pictured) in November 2012 seeking a meeting about construction safety.

He also urged Mr Johnson to make sure that all future public-sector construction contracts used directly employed workers and encouraged private ones to do the same.

Mr Johnson didn't bother to reply, Ucatt said.

"The vast majority of construction deaths can be easily prevented," Mr Swain said a year after sending the letter.

"The mayor's refusal to even acknowledge our legitimate safety concerns demonstrates a complete lack of leadership or a concern for the safety of London construction workers."

Ucatt said there is clear evidence that sites where workers are directly employed rather than self-employed are safer, as they are better organised and more likely to see independent safety inspections.

It pointed out the industry has yet to recover from the recession and warned that unless action is taken deaths and injuries are likely to increase as construction increases in the capital.

Labour London AM Fiona Twycross, who has previously questioned Mr Johnson about safety and direct employment in construction, said workers were "dying needlessly.

"These tragedies must not be ignored and the London mayor has a moral duty to intervene. I would encourage him to work actively with Ucatt."

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