GMB "Grim Reaper" Swansea demo on Friday 23 rd November as Carillion is sentenced in crown court over death of scaffolder in 2008.
Carillion blacklisted workers who raised concerns about health and safety standards and corporate bullying endemic in Carillion has not been rooted out and this culture risks more deaths and injuries on sites says GMB.
There will be a further GMB “grim reaper” demonstration on Friday 23rd November at Swansea Crown Court where three parties, including Carillion, will be sentenced in the case of HSE v Febrey Limited, Mr Michael Febrey and Carillion Construction Limited.
These three parties are due to be sentenced on charges relating to the death of scaffolder Russell Samuel who was killed at work at Meridian Quay in Swansea. Mr Samuel, a father of two of Thomas Street, Gilfach Goch, Porth, Rhondda, aged 40, suffered massive head injuries on 22 January 2008 after falling more than 60ft at the site which includes the tallest residential building in Wales.
Carillion Construction Limited will be sentenced for a Section 22 breach of the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2007.
Febrey Limited will be sentenced for a Section 2 and Section 3 breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 with director Michael Febrey being sentenced for a Section 37 breach of the same Act.
GMB, the union for construction workers, is linking the involvement of Carillion in this case with its involvement with blacklisting 224 construction workers including health and safety representatives across Wales and the UK. Carillion blacklisted 10 workers in Wales as follows: Caernarfon (2) Clwyd (5), Llandudno (1), Mold (1) and North Wales (1).
The details of the demonstration are as follows:
From 9.30 am Friday 23 November
outside Swansea Crown Court,
The Law Courts
St Helen's Road
One of the demonstrators will be dressed as a “Grim Reaper” with scythe. There will be placards with the words “Carillion blacklisted health and safety representatives says GMB” and “Carillion corporate bullying risks death and injuries on sites”.
Carillion’s involvement with blacklisting came to light when, in 2009, the Information Commissioners Office ( ICO) seized a database, held by blacklisting body the Consulting Association, 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.
In June 2012 GMB published a report which showed that blacklisting by Carillion was not something isolated or rare. The GMB 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 report showed that 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 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 1b below). Go to the home page of GMB website http://www.gmb.org.uk/ for a copy of GMB report “BLACKLISTING - illegal corporate bullying endemic, systemic and deep-rooted in Carillion and other companies”. Arising from this report GMB is preparing separate legal action against Carillion for blacklisting.
After a long GMB campaign Carillion finally apologised but have not offered to compensate workers they blacklisted. Richard Howson, Carillion Chief Executive, said (on 25th October) that ‘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”
Justin Bowden GMB National Officer said “This further demonstration is to highlight the terrible toll of death and injury in the construction sector and to underline the importance of the proper enforcement of health and safety laws to prevent this carnage.
Employers who kill and maim workers are as guilty of a crime as someone who kills or maims whilst drink driving.
The companies that now make up Carillion were part of a blacklisting conspiracy which deprived workers in the sector of jobs even when they raised concerns about the enforcement of basic health and safety and hygiene standards.
The culture of corporate bullying endemic in Carillion has not been rooted out despite those at the top insisting that this is not the case. This culture increases the risks of death and injuries on sites.
It has taken years of campaigning to get companies like Carillion to drop their denials and cover ups and apologise.
Even now Carillion are in denial when they say their involvement in blacklisting was limited to Crown House. 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 statement by Carillion and response by the Blacklist Support Group .
Employers like Carillion who blacklisted workers have public sector contracts totaling more than £15 billion. They need to be called to account by MPs and local councillors. They should get no more of the public work they are bidding for in Wales until they face up to their vile history to and compensate the blacklisted workers whose lives they blighted”.
Contact: 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
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 responded to the statement on 25th October by Richard Howson, Chief Executive of Carillion on blacklisting. See notes to editors below 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:
· The Information Commissioners Office has specifically identified both Tarmac and Carillion as being subscribers to the Consulting Association. Carillion came into being after the demerger of Tarmac in 1999. Prior to this date Tarmac was a major subscriber to the Consulting Association blacklist. After 1999, Carillion carried on the same operations.
· The Information Commissioners Office has released hundreds of pages of un-redacted blacklist files which highlight the role played by Carillion and a number of their subsidiaries in blacklisting. Crown House is only one of those firms identified. Schal International and SkyBlue Employment Agency (both wholly owned subsidiaries of Carillion) are also specifically identified in the blacklist files. John Mowlem Ltd - now trading as Carillion (JM) Ltd is also identified. So far there is evidence that 224 workers were blacklisted by Carillion.
· The Consulting Association sales book, records and invoices show that Carillion itself was charged subscription fees, additional fees for checking names and charges for attending Consulting Association meetings between 1999 (when Carillion was set up) and 2008 (a few weeks before the Consulting Association was closed down). Between 1999 and 2006 alone, Carillion paid the Consulting Association £32,182.74 + VAT This is one of the highest amounts charged to any of the subscribing companies. Prior to 1999, Tarmac was being invoiced for these services.
· John Mowlem Limited now trading as Carillion (JM) Limited had a separate set of invoices and salesbook records.
· Carillion was charged for attending numerous Consulting Association meetings in Scotland, the North West, London and the South East region and Woodstock throughout this period. Senior managers employed directly by Carillion were attending Consulting Association meetings as late as 2008.
· The unredacted blacklist files and financial documents on many occasions identify the name or provide the initials of the senior managers who passed on information to the blacklist. This information supplied by Carillion continued to be used for blacklisting up until 2009.
· John Edwards is identified as attending Consulting Association meetings in 2008.Two individuals are identified as the "Main Contact" for Carillion. LK - this is Liz Keates. JB - this is John Ball - Head of Human Resources at Carillion in 1999
· John Blake a current senior manager for Carillion admitted collating information that appeared on a blacklist file and sending it to John Ball at Carillion Head Office whilst giving evidence during the Smith v Carillion Employment Tribunal in January 2012.
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 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
blog: www.hazards.org/blacklistblog facebook:http://www.facebook.com/groups/blacklistSG/
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."