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Carillion Swindon New Dispute Ballot

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

GMB New Industrial Action Ballot At Carillion Swindon Hospital In Dispute On Job Losses, Pay Cuts And Staff Rosters

New rotas will mean staff clean wards and toilets, and then serve patients meals whilst still wearing the same uniforms and this is not in the best interests of infection control says GMB

GMB, the union for staff employed by Carillion at Great Western Hospital in Swindon, has now served notice of a new official ballot for industrial action in a dispute over job losses and cuts in pay arising from changes to shift and rota arrangements without consultation.

GMB has already advised Carillion that GMB members working for the company at the hospital have unanimously rejected the proposed new shift and rota changes in a workplace ballot.

The changes will mainly affect housekeeping staff and ward hostesses, though all staff will lose paid breaks. Of the current cleaning workforce of 200, around 20 will be made redundant, but every member of staff will be doing 80 hours less cleaning each year.

GMB members stand to lose on average £650 per year, due to loss of unsocial hour’s payments, and some staff will lose up to 11 lieu days. The new arrangements introduce 12 hour shifts; with a one hour unpaid break in the middle. There are particular problems for staff with childcare commitments, or second jobs. The new longer shifts will also mean that staff will not be able to get to and from work by public transport on Sundays, and few of the staff own cars.

In 2012 there were 21 days of strike action by these workers in protest against bullying and discrimination by Carillion at the hospital. GMB members demanded that Carillion management act to stop the culture of bullying on the contract and for an end to discrimination in the application of pay and conditions on the contract.

That dispute is still on-going as Carillion refused to acknowledge the continued discrimination and victimisation of employees. This has so far resulted in fifty seven cases filed against Carillion in the employment tribunal. GMB are extremely confident of a just resolution through litigation.

In a separate dispute GMB lawyers in June 2013 lodged claims in the High Court in London seeking compensation for 70 GMB members blacklisted by Carillion and other construction employers.

Blacklisting came to light when in 2009 the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) seized a Consulting Association database of 3,213 construction workers and environmental activists used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists.

ICO files show that 224 construction workers were victims of blacklisting by Carillion. Carillion involvement with the Consulting Association blacklist included Crown House, Schal International, SkyBlue Employment Agency, Tarmac and John Mowlem as well as Carillion itself.

Blacklisting by Carillion was not something isolated or rare. GMB estimates that in the period from October 1999 to April 2004 Carillion checked at least 14,724 names with the Consulting Association.

Carillion managers named as involved in blacklisting are: Frank Duggan, group personnel director for Carillion; Kevin Gorman, former human resources manager for Carillion’s Crown House division; Liz Keates, a current head of human resources at Carillion; Sandy Palmer and Dave Aspinall from NCS (Carillion’s in-house employment agency); John Ball, head of human resources at Carillion; Roger Robinson and Brian Tock, two managing directors of Crown House. John Edwards from Carillion attended Consulting Association meetings in 2008. John Blake a senior manager for Carillion has admitted collating information that appeared on a blacklist file and sending it to John Ball.

Carillion continues to say that they “proactively stopped” blacklisting in 2004. GMB has asked, without a response, when and how Carillion removed the 137 names of construction workers that Sir Robert McAlpine says Carillion supplied to the blacklist which was in operation until 2009 when it was shut down.

Carole Vallelly, GMB organiser, said “GMB members are very concerned that Carillion is making huge changes to shifts and rotas without consulting the GMB, the union that represents them.

Carillion is losing 18 staff to redundancy. The rest of the staff will lose around 80 hours each per year.

 GMB cannot believe that the loss of so many cleaning hours will not impact on the standard of cleanliness within the hospital.  GMB is worried that Carillion's cleaning cuts could cost lives.

The new rotas will mean staff clean wards and toilets, and then serve patients meals whilst still wearing the same uniforms.  We cannot believe this is in the best interests of infection control. 

The new shift patterns mean many of the staff, who rely on public transport, will not be able to get to and from work and also impact on caring responsibilities.

Our members demand proper and meaningful consultation. GMB members will not accept further high handed behaviour from Carillion. The ballot for industrial action is the next step in this new dispute.

The original dispute remains unresolved as does Carillion failure to compensate the construction workers they blacklisted.”


Contact Carole Vallelly on 07912 181476 or 01793 818 005 Kevin Brandstatter on 07813 207 374

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