DISGRUNTLED union members led a protest in Wigan about unfair discrimination against employees in the construction industry.
Representatives from Unite stood outside Greenbank Partnerships, in Wigan Lane, waving placards to demonstrate their disgust at blacklisting.
They refer to The Consulting Association – an organisation which maintained a list of construction workers some of whom were active trade union members, or were vocal on matters such as unofficial health and safety complaints. As a result, the workers were ‘blacklisted.’
The rally was in reference to the Crossrail project – the new high frequency railway for London and the South East – where sub-contractor EIS was removed and 28 workers were made redundant. The company had been employed by the consortium BFK (BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman and Kier) to complete electrical work but the union alleged the workforce was dismissed as a result of trade union activists raising legitimate health and safety concerns.
Unite gathered outside Greenbank Partnerships as it had contracted the services of Kier,
Kathy Miller, team leader for Unite North West, said: “It is discriminating against ordinary working people. To have your name secretly on a blacklist which you know nothing about and for no reason is unfair. People have been out of work for months because of it.”
A spokesman for Crossrail said: “The contract had come to an end and so EIS was taken off the job.
“We have seen no evidence of blacklisting and we demand all contractors to comply with the law.”
A spokesman from Kier said: “The activities of the now disbanded Consulting Association are both historic and regrettable. Kier co-operated fully with the investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in 2009 and no further cation was taken against Kier and the firm does not condone any form of blacklisting.”
A spokesman for Ferrovial Agroman said: ”We have never been accused of blacklisting and have seen no evidence of this on any of our projects. The current Unite campaign concerns one individual previously employed by a sub-contractor to a joint venture in which Ferrovial Agroman is one of three partners. The worker left the project when the work the subcontractor had been contracted to carry out had been completed.”