Socialist Worker

GMB conference: Blacklisting bosses named and shamed

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2307

The GMB union threw its weight into the fight against blacklisting at its congress this week.

The union accused multinational outsourcing firm Carillion of blacklisting hundreds of workers.

The union published a report at its annual conference in Brighton which it said pulled back the “curtain of secrecy” to reveal the way firms like Carillion denied workers their right to employment.

The GMB report estimates that in just one financial quarter Carillion checked 2,776 names with the Consulting Association.

And in the period from October 1999 to April 2004 it estimates that Carillion checked at least 14,724 names.

Of the 3,213 people on the Consulting Association blacklist, 2,863 are still unaware that their details were held.

Steve Kelly, a blacklisted worker and spokesperson for the Blacklist Support Group, said the report “shines a light on the dirty tricks that this multi-national used against workers prepared to stand up for their rights or raise concerns about safety.

'The firm should be removed from any approved contractors list for future publicly funded projects in that area.”

Much of the information in the report comes from evidence submitted in the case blacklisted worker Dave Smith took against Carrllion. On Tuesday Dave gave evidence to an investigation into blacklisting being carried out by the Scottish affairs select committee.

Dave named the following senior managers of blacklisting companies to the committee:

  • Gerry Harvey—director of Human Resources Balfour Beatty Engineering Services (formerly Balfour Kilpatrick) attended Consulting Association meetings on behalf of both companies.

  • Elaine Gallagher—human resources manager and “Main Contact” at BBES when contacting Consulting Association

  • Liz Keates—head of human resources Carillion Health

  • John Edwards—Carillion invoiced by Consulting Association for attending Consulting Association meetings in May 2008.

  • John Bull—head of human resources and “Main Contact” at Carillion with Consulting Association

  • Alf Lucas—industrial relations manager John Mowlem Construction PLC (now Carillion (JM) Ltd)

  • David Cochrane—head of human resources Sir Robert MacAlpine

Standing ovation for Swindon strikers

Hospital cleaning and catering workers employed by Carillion in the GMB union at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon struck on Monday of this week.

This was their 20th strike day in a long-running fight over management bullying.

A delegation of strikers came to the GMB Congress in Brighton. They received a standing ovation as a motion in their support was passed.

Making it easier to sack people?

The GMB responded to the news that the government is to introduce a no fault dismissal clause in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill.

Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary said, “This is no fault dismissal by another name.

“Once again we see this government finding a way to undermine existing employment rights by introducing measures which allow employers to force employees out the door if their face doesn’t fit.

“There is no evidence that these measures encourage growth. In fact they encourage further destabilisation in workplaces and cause unnecessary anxiety to the hard working people of the UK.”

Standing up to scabs

Delegates at the GMB annual congress voted to take action against strike-breakers.

Congress heard that 'lots of members and stewards' crossed strike picket lines during the mass walk-out on 30 November.

A motion from Leeds local government staff branch said GMB members who crossed picket lines 'should be investigated and appropriate action taken.'

It added: 'We do have a number of members who use the union for their own ends but when it comes to doing anything in support of the union they are nowhere to be seen.'

One delegate Donna Balance said the scabs especially those sitting in the hall should be ashamed. 'They're boils on the face of humanity and need lancing.'

The congress also passed a motion calling for a public inquiry into police corruption involvement in the murder of Stephen Lawrence.

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Article information

Tue 12 Jun 2012, 19:45 BST
Issue No. 2307
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