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Block Carillion Under Scottish Blacklisting Guidelines

Monday, August 18, 2014

GMB Calls For Barring Carillion And Others From Public Contracts In Scotland Till They Compensate 582 Scottish Workers They Blacklisted

Compensation offer of between £15m and £20m is grossly inadequate for firms with pre-tax profits of £1.04 billion who have to own up, clean up and pay up and until they do so they should get no more work in Scotland says GMB

GMB, the union for construction workers, is stepping up the campaign for Carillion and others firms to be excluded from tendering for any further public sector contracts in Scotland until they compensate the 582 workers in Scotland that they blacklisted.

This next step in the GMB campaign follows a recent letter to Scottish construction firms from the Scottish Government seeking their help in publicising the Scottish Government's guidelines on blacklisting in relation to public sector contracts. See notes to editors 1 for copy of the letter.

The letter states that the “guidance makes it clear that firms which have engaged in blacklisting have committed an act of grave professional misconduct and should be excluded from public procurement, unless they can demonstrate appropriate remedial action.”

GMB plan to advise those dealing with tendering of public contracts that neither Carillion nor the other firms that blacklisted workers have yet paid any compensation and under these guidelines should be excluded from public procurement until they do.

Blacklisting came to light when in 2009 the ICO seized a Consulting Association database of 3,213 construction workers and environmental activists used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists. See notes to editors 2 for the 97 areas in Scotland listed alphabetically where workers blacklisted are from with numbers.

In July 2014, Leigh Day, acting for GMB, begun action in the High Court in London seeking compensation for 122 GMB members blacklisted by Carillion and other firms. GMB’s claims are joined with a further 449 claims by other unions and parties.

In June 2014 talks between GMB and lawyers representing eight construction employers on a compensation scheme for 3,213 blacklisted workers broke down in June over the amount of money being put into the scheme by the employers. The eight construction employers are Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI PLC.

Following the breakdown of talks these employers announced that they are unilaterally going ahead with a scheme GMB estimates will cost these employers between £15m and £20m. This is less than 2% of the combined profits of the eight construction firms in the talks.

So far 1,724 out of the 3,213 on the list know they are on blacklist. 467 were identified by themselves on by their unions. 570 cases are covered by claims in the High Court. ICO contacted direct a further 1,257 and of these 776 has now been sent a copy of their files.  That leaves 1,489 still to trace. On 15th April the ICO said: “We don’t plan to write out to any more people, as we believe we’ve written to everyone who we can be sure of having up-to-date details for.”

Harry Donaldson, Secretary GMB Scotland, said "Public money should not go to companies like Carillion that have engaged in blacklisting till they have purged their guilt.

The Scottish Government has taken a strong lead in showing that companies who blacklist don't deserve the opportunity to bid for public contracts.

The current law allows governments and local authorities to bar these companies from the tender lists. The 2014 EU Procurement Directive is only going to strengthen their position. The Scottish Government's stance adds serious weight to the fact that blacklisting counts as "grave misconduct" in procurement law.

Anything other than removing these companies from tender lists in Scotland is unthinkable until they make a decent offer to compensate those they blacklisted.

Carillion and the other firms have yet to compensate those they blacklisted. They are in front of the High Court in London again in November as workers seek damages from them.

The total compensation which they offered in June is estimated to be is between £15m and £20m. That is less than £3m per company. This is grossly inadequate to deal with the devastating damage inflicted on people in their working lives and the colossal invasion of their privacy.

The companies should get serious and make proper restitution and close the book on this shameful chapter. 

The eight companies between them have a turnover of over £34 billion and pre-tax profits of £1.04 billion. The employers have to own up, clean up and pay up. Until they do so they have to be excluded from work in Scotland.”

End

Contact for GMB-  Richard Leonard on 07703 465 447 or Harry Donaldson 07835 456 726 or 0141 332 8641 or GMB press office at 07921 289880 or 07974 251 823

For people to identify more names on the blacklist call please call Phil Read at GMB on  07840 897997 or email him blacklisted@gmb.org.uk

For information on High Court action contact Leigh Day: David Standard 07540 332717 or Michael Newman 0795 223 9358 or Chris Benson on 07795425649.

Notes to editors

1 Copy of letter from The Scottish Government dated 9 August 2014 on blacklisting.

To Ed Monaghan, Chair Construction Scotland, c/o Scottish Enterprise, Apex House, 99 Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh EH125HD

Dear Ed

I am writing to ask for Construction Scotland's assistance in publicising the Scottish

Government's guidelines on blacklisting in relation to public sector contracts. I have been

pleased to attend recent meetings of the Industry Leadership Group and believe that the role

which you have as a conduit for engaging with the construction sector is vitally important.

 

As I am sure you are aware, the Scottish Government is totally opposed to blacklisting in any

form and has taken practical steps under existing legislation to rid public contracts of this

unwanted, unnecessary and pernicious practice. We issued guidance in November 2013 (footnote 1) which was developed in partnership with a number of trades unions, with whom we continue to engage. This guidance makes it clear that firms which have engaged in blacklisting have committed an act of grave professional misconduct and should be excluded from public procurement, unless they can demonstrate appropriate remedial action.

 

In due course we intend to place these guidelines on a statutory footing through Regulations

and guidance. The new European Procurement Directive (footnote 2) also specifically allows for firms to be excluded if they have breached labour law obligations. We will be consulting on our approach to implementing these pieces of legislation later this year, but we are very clear that we will be as tough as possible on blacklisting.

 

This Government is providing record investment into our national infrastructure. The delivery

of our infrastructure investment programme (footnote 3) is absolutely vital to the provision of public services in Scotland and to the well-being of all the people of Scotland, a key component of which is the construction sector's ability to deliver projects with innovation and

competitiveness.

 

The trade unions with which we are engaging say they remain concerned that the practice

may not have been eradicated completely. We are also aware of on-going High Court

hearings which involve a number of large construction firms. Therefore I am asking

Construction Scotland to disseminate our guidelines on blacklisting to its members and to

publicly endorse the Scottish Government's opposition to the practice.

 

Our construction industry has a vital role to play in helping us create and maintain Scotland's

national infrastructure. It is essential that workers in that important sector are protected from

discrimination and I would be very grateful if you were able to assist the Scottish

Government in line with my requests above.

NICOLA STURGEON

St Andrew's

Footnotes to letter

1 Scottish Procurement Policy Note 4/2013 (http://www.scotland.gov.uklResourceI0043/00438311.pdf)

2 http://www.scotland.gov.ukITopics/Government/Procurement/policy/eureviewprocurement 

3 http://www.scotland.gov.ukITopics/GovernmenUFinance/18232

 

2 NUMBERS BLACKLISTED BY AREA IN SCOTLAND

Town

Area

Number of Blacklisted workers

 

 

 

Scotland total known

 

582

Aberdeen

 

14

Aberdeenshire

 

13

Airdrie

North Lanarkshire

2

Alloa

Clackmannanshire

3

Ardrossan

North Ayrshire

15

Argyll

Argyll and Bute

1

Arrocher

Argyll and Bute

1

Ayrshire

 

8

Balloch

West Dunbartonshire

1

Balmoral

Aberdeenshire

1

Banffshire

Moray

3

Bathgate

West Lothian

1

Bellshill

North Lanarkshire

2

Bishopsbriggs

East Dunbartonshire

1

Blackhill

Glasgow

1

Bo'ness

Falkirk

2

Bridge of Allen

Stirling

1

Cairnburg

Aberdeenshire

1

Caithness

 

2

Carronshore

Falkirk

1

Clydebank

West Dunbartonshire

3

Coatbridge

North Lanarkshire

7

Cumbernauld

North Lanarkshire

5

Dalry

North Ayrshire

2

Dumbarton

West Dunbartonshire

4

Dumfries

Dumfries and Galloway

5

Dumfrieshire

Dumfries and Galloway

1

Dunblane

Stirling

1

Dundee

 

21

Dunfermline

Fife

3

East Fife

Fife

1

East Kilbride

South Lanarkshire

4

Edinburgh

Edinburgh

52

Elgin

Moray

1

Ellon

Aberdeenshire

1

Erskine

Renfrewshire

1

Falkirk

 

12

Faslane

Argyll and Bute

3

Fife

 

12

Fort William

Highland

1

Fraserburgh

Aberdeenshire

12

Glasgow

 

138

Glenrothes

Fife

3

Grampian

Aberdeenshire

2

Grangemouth

Falkirk

19

Greenock

Inverclyde

16

Hamilton

South Lanarkshire

1

Helensburgh

Argyll and Bute

2

Helmsdale

Highland

1

Inverkeithing

Fife

2

Inverness

Highland

5

Irvine

North Ayrshire

19

Johnstone

Renfrewshire

2

Kilbirnie

North Ayrshire

1

Kilmarnock

East Ayrshire

8

Kilsyth

North Lanarkshire

2

Kilwinning

North Ayrshire

5

Kirkcaldy

Fife

1

Lanark

South Lanarkshire

2

Lanarkshire

 

5

Largs

North Ayrshire

1

Larkhall

South Lanarkshire

1

Livingston

West Lothian

7

Lochgelly

Fife

1

Lumphinans

Fife

1

Midlothian

 

2

Mintlaw

Aberdeenshire

1

Monifeith

Angus

1

Montrose

Angus

4

Morayshire

Moray

1

Motherwell

North Lanarkshire

3

Musselburgh

East Lothian

1

Nairn

Highland

2

New Elgin

Moray

1

Orkney

 

1

Paisley

Renfrewshire

7

Perth

 

2

Peterhead

Aberdeenshire

16

Port Glasgow

Inverclyde

10

Renfrew

Renfrewshire

5

Ross

Highland

1

Rutherglen

South Lanarkshire

2

Saltcoats

North Ayrshire

10

Scotland

 

8

Shotts

North Lanarkshire

1

Skinflats

Falkirk

1

Stevenston

North Ayrshire

11

Stirling

 

4

Stirlingshire

Stirling

1

Strathclyde

East Ayrshire

2

Stuartfield

Aberdeenshire

1

Thurso

Highland

3

Uddington

South Lanarkshire

1

West Calder

West Lothian

1

West Kilbride

North Ayrshire

3

West Lothian

West Lothian

3

Woodisburn

Midlothian

1

 

 

 

 

 

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