Million NL residents working without physical distance

Excluding healthcare workers, a million people in the Netherlands can’t work from home and are at risk of contracting the coronavirus because their employers aren’t enforcing the social distancing measure of keeping 1.5 meters apart, according to trade union FNV.

Jobs where workers can’t keep 1.5 meters away from each other or the public include the over 1,400 security workers at Schiphol, around 6 thousand cabin crew members on flights, many thousands of public transit workers like bus drivers, the some 62 thousand people who work in distribution centers, the over 62 thousand people who work in post- and package sorting centers, the 7,600 people who work in funeral services, the nearly half a million people in the construction sector, and 285 thousand transport and logistics workers.

“Keeping a meter and a half apart is crucial for our health, now and in the future. This is not going well in many workplaces, sometimes even downright badly, according to a survey of sectors. An unacceptable situation,” FNV vice-chairman Kitty Jong said.

The union called on employers to do better. “People have the right to a safe and healthy workplace. That is not a privilege, but an obligation of employers. They must ensure this and the government must ensure that it is complied with,” Jong said. “We find it unacceptable that workers in some sectors are running avoidable risks and sometimes have to risk their lives at work.”