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Aberdeen bypass: 15 hour-a-day job adverts uncovered

Exclusive: A second CN investigation has uncovered adverts for 15-hour-a-day jobs on the £745m Aberdeen bypass, prompting renewed calls for a government investigation into safety conditions on the project.

CN has uncovered numerous adverts posted by agencies on social media platforms for jobs involving shifts of 15 hours a day or 80 hours a week on the embattled Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR).

One post from a recruiter calls for wheeled excavator drivers to work on the AWPR for “up to 15 hours a day plus weekends” for 10-15 weeks.

Another advert, posted on 2 July by a recruitment agency, seeks two 360 wheeled drivers to carry out building service and side-road duties to work 70-80 hours a week for a six to eight-week stretch.

This advert was removed from the social media platform after CN made enquiries with Transport Scotland and the £745m project’s joint venture partners, Balfour Beatty and Galliford Try.

Responding to CN’s findings, a spokesman for Transport Scotland said the contractors’ Aberdeen Roads joint venture had not posted adverts with these descriptions.

The transport body added that the contractors were investigating the source of the adverts.

“Aberdeen Roads Limited and its contractor, AWPR Construction Joint Venture, has confirmed that it has not placed any jobs of this description online or anywhere else,” the spokesman said.

“It is currently investigating the source of these advertisements.”

CN investigation published last month revealed that multiple workers on the troubled project quit due to stress and exhaustion related to the number of hours they worked.

The investigation saw evidence that staff repeatedly worked for more than 70 hours a week, with some workers managing busy sites for 13 hours at a time.

One former worker from the project, who left due to exhaustion from working lengthy hours, told CN they viewed the adverts as “a disgrace”.

“I’m shocked,” the source told CN. “After everything that’s appeared in the press about the safety conditions on that project, how can such long working hours be shamelessly advertised?

“I got so tired I didn’t feel I could do my job properly anymore and I was worried that, with everyone else as tired as I was, we would be unable to prevent a serious accident taking place.

“I quit the project because I was working the type of hours that these adverts openly ask for.”

Scottish Labour responded to the revelations by repeating calls for an investigation by the Scottish Government.

The party’s leader Richard Leonard called for an urgent public probe into safety on the project last month in response to CN’s safety allegations from former workers and publication of internal safety reports.

North East MSP Lewis Macdonald has now reiterated these calls following CN’s discovery of the job adverts.

“These are extremely serious reports which must be thoroughly investigated as a matter of urgency by the SNP Government,” he said.

“This is supposed to be a flagship infrastructure project – and so should be the gold standard in terms of health and safety as well as the conditions for workers on the project.

“But testimony from workers on the project tell an entirely different story – and these adverts will only reinforce those reports.

“Labour has repeatedly raised concerns about the treatment of workers at the AWPR, as well as other publicly funded projects across Scotland.

“That is why Labour has repeatedly called for a comprehensive review of procurement in Scotland – but in a parliamentary vote the SNP joined forces with the Tories to block it.

“The Labour Party will keep up the pressure until we see a step-change in the industry in general and on this public project in particular.”

A spokesperson for Transport Scotland said: “Health and safety of those working on all major infrastructure projects and the surrounding community are of the utmost importance.”

Fresh concerns were raised about the AWPR project last week after CN revealed a bulldozer working on the project had overturned.

The Scottish Government has been contacted for comment.

Balfour Beatty and Galliford Try said they were unable to comment directly due to the partnering nature of the project.

Readers' comments (1)

  • the project is obviously overrunning, therefore overtime is one mechanism to get back on programme, I am not sure why this particular contract is receiving such coverage, looks like someone is out to make negative publicity on an already disaster job for the JV

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