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Labor group calls for measures to protect construction workers from heat wave

Politics 16:23 July 28, 2021

SEOUL, July 28 (Yonhap) -- A local labor group called on authorities Wednesday to devise measures to protect construction workers from the ongoing heat wave that has gripped South Korea for nearly 10 days.

The Korean Construction Workers' Union (KCWU) made the request during its representatives' meeting with government officials and lawmakers at an apartment construction site in Seoul.

Unrelenting hot weather has continued in most parts of the country for up to 10 days, with daily maximum temperatures reaching 36 C in Seoul and elsewhere in the day, according to the state weather agency.

Workers are seen at the construction site of apartment buildings in southern Seoul on July 28, 2021. (Yonhap)

The KCWU demanded at the meeting that more rest facilities be made available for field construction workers and construction periods be adjusted in consideration of the abnormal weather conditions.

While the meeting was under way, construction workers wearing masks, hard hats and gloves were seen moving heavy steel rebars under the scorching sun. The sensible temperatures surged up to 40 C at the site even in the shade. The railings of the iron stairs were too hot to hold with bare hands.

"Construction workers get fully wet with sweat even after working for just an hour," a KCWU official said, calling for more spaces for workers to take showers and relax.

Other labor officials also asked that wages of construction workers be guaranteed even if construction work is suspended during the afternoon peak of the hot weather.

"Construction workers are paid according to the set construction period. But if the construction period is extended due to a heat wave or other abnormal weather conditions, their wages are not properly compensated," another labor official said.

ycm@yna.co.kr
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