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Carillion Sheffield Strike

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Carillion GMB school support staff strike action on Friday 15th March in Sheffield for living wage of £7.45 per hour.

Contracted out Sheffield workers to fight for living wage with sustained industrial action and will link up with GMB members in dispute with Carillion in Swindon and with the 201 Yorkshire blacklisted workers.

24 GMB members employed by Carillion as support staff in several schools in Sheffield will take strike action on Friday 15th March over the refusal of the contractor to apply the living wage of £7.45 per hour paid to direct council employees. Some of these staff were out-sourced years ago but most were outsourced to Carillion only 2 years ago.

Sheffield City Council recently agreed to become a living wage employer. The council will pay the lowest paid direct employees a living wage of £7:45 per hour in April 2013. Sheffield City Council political leadership made clear in a recent full council meeting 'we will do all we can to make sure partners pay the living wage even if we have to name and shame them.'

However Carillion is refusing to pay £7.45 per hour to staff doing work for the council. Carillion also refused to pay a lump sum of £250 when the workers were first out-sourced.

GMB will also launch a petition at 3pm on Friday 15th outside the Town Hall that all out-sourced public sector workers in Sheffield are paid a living wage.  The Carillion school cleaners on strike will be there for the launch.

The dispute between GMB and Carillion in Sheffield is the third dispute between the union and the company underway across the country.

In Swindon 200 GMB members are still in dispute with Carillion at Great Western PFI hospital over allegations of bribery, shakedowns, racism, bullying and intimidation after 21 days of strike action. There are fifty seven cases filed against Carillion in the employment tribunal arising from this dispute.

GMB’s dispute with Carillion over blacklisting will be subject to litigation in the High Court. Carillion also face a case in the Employment Appeals Tribunal for blacklisting Dave Smith. 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. ICO confirmed that Dave Smith was one of 224 construction workers from around the UK were victims of blacklisting by Carillion. Of these one was from Sheffield and 9 from Yorkshire. See notes to editors for recent GMB press release on Carillion blacklisting.

Peter Davies, GMB Regional Officer, said “Most of the city's lowest paid workers in schools and other public services have been out-sourced to contractors over successive administrations. Where this has happened these Sheffield City Council contractors are refusing to honour the rise to £7.45 per hour for the city's lowest paid employees.

We have a ridiculous situation at Firth Park Community College and other schools where workers work directly for the council in the kitchens for half of their job and then for Carillion later as cleaners, Carillion pay these workers over £1.00 an hour less.

Council contractors were all quick to follow the City pay freeze but when there is something on the table for the lowest paid they suddenly run for the shadows.

The only way these workers will get the living wage is to fight for it through a sustained industrial action campaign like the Carillion workers are doing.

As part of the campaign we plan to link up with GMB members in dispute with Carillion in Swindon and with the 201 blacklisted workers inYorkshire.

GMB will use the petition we are launching on Friday to force a debate in the Council over the coming weeks and months to see if we can bring the Councils 'so called' partners in line with the living wage.”


Contact Peter Davies GMB Organiser on 07501 228313 or 0845 337 7777 GMB press office 07974 251 823 or 07921 289880

Notes to editors

GMB press release on blacklisting by Carillion dated 27th Feb 2013


The High Court will decide if their “Lance Armstrong defence” that they were not as bad as some of the other construction employers will provide Carillion with effective legal protection says GMB

GMB, the union for construction workers, say Carillion’s “Lance Armstrong defence” of it’s blacklisting record is “pathetic”. On 26 Feb in Londonan Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) hearing ordered that Carillion must face human rights claims at a two day hearing over its role in construction blacklisting. See GMB website for press release issued 26th Feb by Blacklist Support Group after EATheard appeal by Dave Smith blacklisted by Carillion.

Carillion has now issued a new defence of the firm’s blacklisting record following the publication by the Scottish Affairs Committee of evidence from Ian Kerr of the blacklisting body the Consulting Association. See GMB website for  new Carillion defence.

A GMB analysis shows that between 1996/97 and 2003/04 Tarmac/ Carillion/ John Mowlem paid £83,161 to the Consulting Association. This was third highest payment by blacklisting employers in that period. See GMB website for table of payments.

Maria Ludkin from GMB said “Carillion are saying they may be guilty but some other construction employers were worse than them. This is pathetic.

Carillion’s involvement with blacklisting came to light when in 2009 the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) seized a Consulting Association 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.

Dave Smith, from Essex, took a case against Carillion to an Employment Tribunal in Londonin January 2012. In the judgment 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”.  This was because he lost the case on the technical point that he was not directly employed by Carillion who blacklisted him but was “employed” by an employment agency. The decision at ETAyesterday arises from this case.

ICO confirmed that Dave Smith was one of 224 construction workers from around the UKwho were victims of blacklisting by Carillion. These names were released in the course of the Dave Smith’s employment tribunal.

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).

See GMB report “BLACKLISTING - illegal corporate bullying endemic, systemic and deep-rooted in Carillion and other companies” which is available on the GMB website at .

There is evidence from the Information Commissioner 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.

The following Carillion managers were named at the Scottish Affairs Committee as being involved in the operation of the blacklist: 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: NCSand Dave Aspinall: NCS(Carillion’s in-house employment agency); John Ball: head of human resources at Carillion; Roger Robinson andBrianTock: two managing directors of Crown House. John Edwards from Carillion is identified as attending Consulting Association meetings in 2008.

Blacklisting by Carillion was 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.

By autumn 2012 only 194 of the 3,213 people on the blacklist knew that they were on the list as these had contacted the ICO directly.

ICO finally agreed to supply names, date of birth, trade and town to enable GMB to check against membership records to find members on the blacklist. GMB found nearly 200 exact matches and the union is working to get files from ICO.  Leigh Day is preparing litigation to get them compensation at no cost to these GMB members.

GMB issued a map showing where in GB 2,554 lived or worked. 90% still do not know they are on the list. GMB also disclosed that some on the list are green activists who have not worked in construction industry. GMB is asking if the security services were involved in them being put on the list. GMB also revealed that at least 240 on the list are women.

 Maria Ludkin GMB National Officer for Legal and Corporate affairs said "Carillion repeat the same statements whilst still refusing to explain their continued presence and attendance at "security meetings" held at the Consulting Association right up until the raid by the ICO in 2009.

The fact that environmental activists who had never worked in the construction industry are listed on the blacklist, and that this information may be from the police or security services, leaves Carillion with a fresh new set of questions to answer.

It will be for the High Court to decide if their “Lance Armstrong defence” that they were not as bad as some of the other construction employers will provide them with effective legal protection. In effect they are saying they may be guilty but so is everyone else. Doesn't make them any less guilty does it? It’s a pathetic response.” 


Contact Dave Smith 07882 579 452 re case.

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