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Carillion Apology Over Blacklisting

Friday, October 19, 2012

Carillion’s Apology Over Blacklisting Is “An Important First Step In Recognition Of Disgraceful And Immoral Behaviour” Which Blighted Lives Says GMB.

This first step now needs to be followed up quickly by an acceptance by these companies of their responsibilities towards the people whose lives they blighted and damaged says GMB.

GMB, the union for construction workers, welcome the apology from Carillion over blacklisting as “ an important first step” and called on the construction employers to follow this up by quickly accepting their responsibilities for the people whose lives they blighted.

Carillion Chief Executive, Richard Howson is quoted in the construction press today ( 19th October) saying  ‘Carillion is led by strong values and we take our commitment to transparency and openness extremely seriously which is why we are sorry that one of our former subsidiary businesses, Crown House Engineering, used the Consulting Association’s database to reference individuals. This was not consistent with the high standards of behaviour that we set for ourselves, based on our core values."

Carillion’s involvement with blacklisting came to light when, in 2009, the Information Commissioners Office ( ICO) seized a database of 3,213 construction workers used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists. Only 194 of those on the blacklist know they are on it leaving 3,019 unaware of this. ICO has refused to write to them direct as GMB is demanding.

In June 2012 GMB published a report showing that blacklisting by Carillion was not something isolated or rare. The report estimates that in one quarter that 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. The GMB report “BLACKLISTING - illegal corporate bullying endemic, systemic and deep-rooted in Carillion and other companies” is on the GMB website click this link..

The Information Commissioner confirmed that 224 construction workers from around the UK were victims of blacklisting by Carillion. These names, on the files of the blacklisting body The Consulting Association, were released in the course of an Employment Tribunal earlier this year when Carillion was accused of blacklisting a construction worker in London. See note 2 below.

The 224 people blacklisted by Carillion were either based in or tried to obtain work in the following areas ( with numbers in the area  listed in brackets): Barnsley (1), Birkenhead (2), Blackburn (5), Brentwood (1), Bristol (1), Caernarfon (2), Canvey Island in Essex (1), Chatham in Kent (3), Cheshire (1), Chester (1), Cleator Moor in Cumbria (1), Clwyd (5), Croydon (1), Derby (1), Dundee (1), Edinburgh (2), Ellesmere Port (3), Essex (1), Folkestone (1), Gateshead (1), Glasgow (1), Gravesend (1), Grimsby (1), Hartlepool (2), Hillingdon (1), Irvine (1), Isle of Man (10), Kent (58), Kirkby (1), Leeds (2), Liverpool (14), Livingston (3), Llandudno (1), London (39), Lowestoft (1), Manchester (13), Merseyside (5), Mold (1), North Wales (1), Oldham (1), Plymouth (1), Rayleigh (1), Romford (2), Rotherham (4), Scunthorpe (1), Sheffield (1), Sherburn in Elmet in North Yorkshire (1), Stanford-le-Hope in Essex (2), Sunderland (1), Surrey (1), Thatcham in Berkshire (1), Uxbridge (3), Warrington (1), West Wickham (1), Wirral (5) and Woodbridge in Suffolk (1). Arising from this GMB report the union is preparing separate legal action against Carillion for blacklisting.

During the still unresolved GMB dispute with Carillion at the Swindon PFI Hospital, where there have been 21 days of strike action over shake downs and cover ups, it emerged that Liz Keates, the Carillion HR manager dealing with it, was the company main link to the Consulting Association.

Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said “This is an important first step in recognition of the disgraceful and immoral behaviour of Carillion and many other construction companies.

This first step now needs to be followed up quickly by an acceptance by these companies of their responsibilities towards the people whose lives they blighted and damaged.

It has taken years of campaigning to get companies like Carillion to drop their denials and cover ups.

GMB look forward to Carillion and other construction companies publishing the full details of all the people they blacklisted and accepting their full responsibilities in this matter.“

End

Contact  Justin Bowden 07710 631 351 or Maria Ludkin GMB National Officer for Legal and Corporate Affairs 07956 632 657 or Paul Maloney 07901 343 839 or GMB Press office 07921 289880 or 07974 251 823 or Dave Smith blacklist support group 07882 579452

Notes to editors

1 Information from Employment Tribunals mentioning Carillion                                                         

A ) In a Carillion blacklisting case in Manchester Employment Tribunal in March 2012 (Case No 2405634/09) Mr Wainright an ex-Carillion HR manager said in his witness statement “In my opinion a blacklist is a list of people (held by a third party or exchanged between companies) that a company or group of companies would not employ for reasons that they cannot legal or lawfully keep on their personnel files, databases or records. I first became aware of blacklisting in 1997 when I was employed by Carillion Plc. I was told by Mr Gorman, Crown House HR manager that Carillion used the services of an external consultant called Ian Kerr to ensure that certain workers did not gain employment on their projects. Mr Gorman went on to explain that Mr Kerr provided this service to a number of other high profile companies and had collated a list of names from each of these companies over a period with a view to ensuring that those on the lists did not gain employment with other companies.”

B) In the judgment in the Employment Tribunal on Carillion’s blacklisting a worker in London in March 2012 (Case no 1310709/2009) the judge said “It seems to us that he has suffered a genuine injustice and we greatly regret that the law provides him with no remedy”.

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