3 weeks to scrutinise final bids for Staffordshire education support services not enough time says GMB before public meeting on 13th Nov in Stafford.
That only three weeks have been allocated to parents, staff, schools, unions and others to by council to scrutinise Carillion and Capita final bids is a disgrace says GMB.
GMB, the union for school support staff, has condemned the allocation of only 3 weeks for public scrutiny of final bids from Carillion and Capita, for the outsourcing of Staffordshire Education Support Services (ESS) covering 400 Staffordshire schools, before the successful bidder is chosen on December 5th. The lower end of the contract value is £700m with the total contract value potentially being £2bn.
Staffordshire County Council are planning to set up a new joint business with a private sector contractor for 400 schools for school meals and catering, cleaning, property management, grounds maintenance, building maintenance, music tuition, teacher training and ICT. The tender also covers Outdoor Education, Staffordshire Performing Arts, the School Governors Service, Education Transformation, Staffordshire Learning Technologies, and the Learning and Development Arm.
The council has given just 3 weeks to parents, staff, schools, unions and others to scrutinise the two bids. A decision will be made on Wednesday 5 December and winner announced after that meeting. The legal aspect of contract will be dealt with in February 2013 with the contract awarded in March 2013 with a start date of 1 April 2013.
GMB is holding a public meeting in Stafford on November 13th to mobilise opposition to the outsourcing and to the bid by Carillion until they compensate the 224 workers they blacklisted across the UK.
Unless this is stopped 5,000 staff will be outsourced to a new employer from 1stApril 2013.
The public meeting details are as follows:
From 6pm to 8pm
Tuesday 13th November
Lecture theatre Room BE304
Broad Eye Building,
Stafford ST16 2QR
Speakers – Dave Smith – blacklisted by Carillion- from the Blacklist Support Group, Ron Clarke, Staffordshire Labour Councillors, Carole Vallelly GMB officers and members in dispute with Carillion after 21days of strike action at Swindon PFI hospital, Kameljeet Jandu GMB National Equalities Officer and Justin Bowden GMB National Officer.
Last month Paul Farrelly MP called for bidding to be halted on conflict of interest grounds. This was after Phil Cresswell, who led this ESS outsourcing for Staffordshire, quit the council in September to become business development director Carillion.
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.
From documentary evidence seen by GMB the ICO confirmed that 224 construction workers from around the UK were victims of blacklisting by Carillion.
Blacklisting by Carillion not something rare. GMB 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. This makes it one of the bigger users.
There is evidence that Carillion involvement with the Consulting Association blacklist included parts of their organization such as Crown House, Schal International, SkyBlue Employment Agency, Tarmac and John Mowlem as well as Carillion itself. (see notes to editors for response of Blacklist Support Group to statement by Carillion.)
Carillion managers who were involved in blacklisting were named at the Scottish Affairs Committee on 6th November 2012 as follows: Frank Duggan: group personnel director for Carillion plc; Kevin Gorman: former human resources manager for Carillion’s Crown House division; Liz Keates: head of human resources at Carillion; Sandy Palmer: NCS and Dave Aspinall: NCS (Carillion’s in-house employment agency); John Ball: head of human resources at Carillion and Brian Tock managing director of Crown House.
Information supplied by Carillion continued to be used for blacklisting till the data base was shut down by ICO in 2009.
GMB report “BLACKLISTING - illegal corporate bullying endemic, systemic and deep-rooted in Carillion and other companies” has been sent to chairs of school governors and school heads in Staffordshire. Click the link on the home page of GMB website for the report.
Chris Humphreys, GMB regional officer, said “GMB oppose outsourcing of ESS whoever wins the bid.
Three weeks for parents, staff, schools, unions and others to scrutinise the bids from two contractors with poor records is not enough time. It is a disgrace.
Bidding should be halted due to conflicts of interests after Phil Cresswell changed sides and now works for Carillion.
GMB has made clear that a bid from Carillion is unwelcome until they properly acknowledge the vile history of blacklisting by companies that make up the group and compensate the workers whose lives they blighted.
Carillion has responded to GMB saying that blacklisting is “historical”. This is not true as this is very much a live issue derived from a vile history. The victims are still victims who are still suffering from being excluded from employment over decades.
It is still not known how many Staffordshire workers were blacklisted as only 198 of those on the blacklist know they are on it leaving 3,015 unaware of this. GMB is still trying to establish how many GMB members were blacklisted. GMB has instructed Leigh Day to take legal action to secure compensation for these workers from Carillion and others.
The culture of corporate bullying has not been eradicated from Carillion. In 2010 Carillion were found guilty of racial harassment of a black carpenter in London. Carillion finally admitted bribery and shakedowns of Asian staff at Swindon PFI hospital in a dispute not settled after 21 days of strike action and GMB has lodged over 100 race discriminations claims to the Employment Tribunal.
On November 23rd Carillion Construction Limited will be sentenced in Swansea Crown Court for a Section 22 breach of the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2007 relating to the death of worker in 2008. GMB is linking this case with Carillion blacklisting health and safety representatives.
Carillion must realise that blacklisting 224 workers and supplying information to a database that was used to blacklist 3,213 workers till 2009 is far from a minor matter.”
Contact: Chris Humphreys 07957 266 864 or 01785 255 978 or Justin Bowden 07710 631 351 or Maria Ludkin GMB National Officer for Legal and Corporate Affairs 07956 632 657 or GMB Press office 07921 289880 or 07974 251 823
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”.
2 Statement by Blacklist support group dated 26 October 2012.
CARILLION INVOLVEMENT WITH BLACKLIST INCLUDED CROWN HOUSE, TARMAC, JOHN MOWLEM, SCHAL INTERNATIONAL, SKYBLUE EMPLOYMENT AGENCY AND CARILLION
The Blacklist Support Group politely suggest that Richard Howson checks the information he is being given before making any further statements and the group will be happy to send him copies of any documents that are in the public domain
The Blacklist Support Group responded to the statement on 25th October by Richard Howson, Chief Executive of Carillion on blacklisting. See notes to editors for copy of that statement on the Carillion website.
A spokesperson for the Blacklist Support Group said “Richard Howson says in his statement that it is important that people have access to information on blacklisting so that the whole industry can have a rational debate about this issue. He needs to look carefully at the facts we have set out here in this press release.
We would like to remind Richard Howson of documents that are in the public domain and statements that have been made by Carillion managers under oath in court.
That Carillion blacklisted workers was proven in 2009 when the Information Commissioners Office ( ICO) got details of the 3,213 construction workers held by the Consulting Association and used by 44 companies to keep trade union and health and safety activists off jobs.
There is clear evidence that Carillion involvement with the Consulting Association blacklist goes beyond Crown House to include Tarmac, John Mowlem, Schal International, SkyBlue Employment Agency as well as Carillion itself. There is evidence that:
Richard Howson denies that Carillion have at any time participated in blacklisting of trade union members. In an attempt to protect the Carillion brand, he claims that the only part of the Carillion empire ever to have used the Consulting Association was a subsidiary called Crown House and that ended in 2004. That statement is not bourne out by the facts as set out here.
These claims about Carillion's role in blacklisting have been put forward on numerous occasions in undisputed written witness statements and oral evidence at various Employment Tribunals. Much of the information was first exposed on Alan Wainwright's online blog (ex-Director of Industrial Relations for Carillion who became a whistleblower)
If any of these facts were incorrect, Carillion have had every opportunity to refute them in court but have always declined to do so.
The statement presents that Liz Keates, current Head of Human Resources at Carillion Health as some kind of heroine who put a stop to the blacklisting when she found out about it. Liz Keates is not a hero of this story - Liz Keates is a serial blacklister. Un-redacted blacklist files show LK repeatedly provided information to the Consulting Association over many years. Even Richard Howson's own statement admit that Liz Keates was "the HR manager responsible for accessing it" (the Consulting Association database).
The Blacklist Support Group politely suggest that Richard Howson checks the information he is being given before making any further statements. We will be happy to send him copies of any documents that are in the public domain. The longer Carillion deny their involvement, the bigger the scandal when the full truth is unearthed.”
Drawn up by Blacklist Support Group 26/10/12
Blacklist Support Group
Notes to Editors
Statement from Carillion Chief Executive Richard Howson on blacklisting on Carillion website Thursday 25th October
Carillion Chief Executive, Richard Howson, said: "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.
The GMB has, however, made an extraordinary claim that Carillion was at the heart of the blacklisting of 3,000 people in the construction industry which totally misrepresents the facts and which they know is a falsehood.
We want to make it absolutely clear that Carillion does not condone or engage in blacklisting.
Crown House Engineering, the only Carillion subsidiary to access the database, discontinued its use back in 2004, long before the practice became illegal, when the HR manager responsible for accessing it, Liz Keates, put a stop to it. According to the ICO, Crown House was one of more than 40 construction companies to have used the database.
The Consulting Association database is the only record of information about affected individuals. Crown House never held copies or any records of its own and so the only source of information about this issue lies with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).
Carillion has called upon the ICO to release the information held on the database and we also make the same request of the GMB related to any information they may hold on affected individuals.
It is important that people have access to this so that the whole industry can have a rational debate about this issue. We are also confident that it will show how minor the involvement of our business unit, Crown House Engineering, was."