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COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level responses

Eurofound's COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the crisis, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for case PT-2020-25/1052 – measures in Portugal

COVID-19: 40 urgent measures for construction workers

COVID-19: 40 medidas urgentes para os trabalhadores da construção civil

Country Portugal , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 18 June 2020
Type Other initiatives or policies
Category Protection of workers, adaptation of workplace
– Occupational health and safety
Author Maria da Paz Campos Lima (CESIS)
Case created 01 September 2020 (updated 11 September 2020)

Background information

The FEVICCOM (Federação dos Sindicatos da Construção), the Federation of construction workers unions and the STARQ (Sindicato dos Trabalhadores de Arqueologia), the archeology workers union, both affiliated of the trade union confederation CGTP, proposed on 18 June 2020, 40 urgent measures to defend the health, wages, employment and labour rights of construction workers in the context of the pandemic crisis.

The background for the proposed measures is to respond to the "generalised environment of sanitary insecurity and the existence of irregular companies, of informal and illegal work, has caused a worsening and uncontrolled hygiene, safety and health conditions in the works, especially serious for low skilled workers often subcontracted on a temporary and precarious basis, including many immigrants."

Content of measure

The urgent recommendations refer to various issues, all related with occupational health and security and protection of workers and public health, of which we highlight:

EMPLOYERS RESPONSIBILITY:

  • To secure that employers take the responsibility to respond for the level of security namely with their obligation to appoint the Safety Coordinator of the project and site; to implement a Workplace Health and Safety Plan and to ensure compliance with the management and general organization rules of the shipyard.
  • To reinforce workers information and consultation and, whenever they exist, consult and involve their representative structures, namely, trade union delegates and workers' representatives for safety and health at work;
  • Periodically carry out, by an element of the team's or shipyard's hierarchical chain, the survey of dangerous situations verified with the aim of adopting measures and developing procedures.

MOVEMENTS TO / FROM THE WORKPLACE:

  • Provide that all workers can, if possible, commute to work in their own vehicle, by bicycle or on foot, avoiding, whenever possible, public transport;
  • Ensure that personnel transport vehicles are sanitized frequently.
  • In medium and long distance journeys, the available seats per vehicle must be reduced to ensure greater physical distance (2/3 of the capacity);
  • reduce or avoid stops at service stations;
  • the frequency of the number of work / home trips reduced;
  • verify (without registration and with worker authorization) the body temperature at the entrance for each trip and used mask during the trip, by all passengers.

WORKPLACES:

In addition to an extensive list of security and protection recommendations, the proposal requires:

  • To ensure that each entity prepares and/or revises the Contingency Plan with the prevention, containment and mitigation measures for COVID-19 disease in the workplace, for each construction site; and that the Contingency Plan and any updates, must be made known to all workers and their representatives. It must also be ensured that sanitary rules are complied with when new teams of subcontractors enter the works;
  • Place informational posters from the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) in the works, with translation into several languages, according to the nationalities of the workers.
  • Intensify the action of those responsible for work safety, namely with regard to the promotion, dissemination, inspection and permanent information of all the COVID-19 pandemic prevention procedures.
  • Keep information up to date for all workers and for all other players on the job, taking into account their legitimate concerns, seeking to support them in solving problems they detect or persist;
  • Maintain regular communication between workers, companies and other contracting entities, namely on the conditions of hygiene, safety and health in the workplace.

ACCOMMODATION AND HOUSING CONDITIONS:

To guarantee housing and housing conditions for all workers, which ensure the conditions of hygiene and safety for themselves, their families and the communities where they operate, in interconnection with Social Security services and municipal entities.

Use of measure

It is not mentioned, but the proposed measures would cover, should cover all companies and workers in the construction sector.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Applies to all workers Sector specific set of companies
Applies to all citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
Trade unions
No special funding required

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Consulted Consulted
Form Direct consultation outside a formal body Unknown

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: Sectoral or branch level

Involvement

The 40 measures to defend the health and security and working conditions of construction workers in the context of the pandemic crisis were proposed by the FEVICCOM (Federação dos Sindicatos da Construção), the Federation of construction workers unions and the STARQ (Sindicato dos Trabalhadores de Arqueologia), the archeology workers union, both affiliated of the trade union confederation CGTP, proposed on 18 June 2020. They are urgent trade union recommendations formulated by FEVICCOM in the context of sector ad-hoc ongoing social dialogue between the government and the sector organizations in the construction sector.

Views and reactions

The 40 measures/recommendations proposed are a initiative of the union Federation FEVICCOM taken in June 2020. Their context is ad-hoc social dialogue between the govern and the trade union and employer federations of construction sector, over health, safety and protection issues in this very critical sector, in times of pandemic. FEVICOMM recommendations converge and reinforce to a large extent the regulations and guidelines of national health and security authorities concerning the construction sector; with which also converge the recommendations of the two employer federations of the construction sector AECOPS and AICCOPN (COVID-19: Recomendações para empresas e trabalhadores) updated in July 2020.

What is very relevant in FEVICCOM initiative is that it contributes to raise awareness and reinforces guidance over health and safety procedures and conditions when cooperation is most needed; it suggests a closer follow-up of the company practices in the sector by national authorities and requires requires greater corporate accountability for compliance with health and safety procedures in the workplace but also the environmental (transport of workers and housing conditions). Furthermore, it stresses the critical need for companies compliance with workers information and consultation rights and dialogue with trade unions and employee representatives, including health and safety representatives. At the same time it expresses the concern with the housing conditions of construction workers and migrant workers as a health and safety issue in times of pandemic crisis.

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      F - Construction F41 Construction of buildings
      F42 Civil engineering
      F43 Specialised construction activities

This case is not occupation-specific.

Sources

  • 18 June 2020: Covid-19: 40 medidas urgentes para os trabalhadores da construção civil (www.cgtp.pt)
  • 14 July 2020: Covid-19: Recomendações para as empresas e para os trabalhadores (www.aiccopn.pt)

Citation

Eurofound (2020), COVID-19: 40 urgent measures for construction workers , case PT-2020-25/1052 (measures in Portugal), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, http://eurofound.link/covid19eupolicywatch

Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process. All information is preliminary and subject to change.