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GMB Carillion Demo & Rally

GMB Carillion Rally and Demo In London On 20th November Over Long Running Dispute At Swindon PFI Hospital And Blacklisting.

Carillion have got to come to terms with what their managers have done to workers in Swindon and the workers they blacklisted and they have to accept what they did was wrong and then take steps to put it right says GMB.

GMB members, in dispute with Carillion at Great Western PFI Hospital in Swindon since December 2011, will attend a demonstration and a rally in London on Tuesday 20 November over the on-going dispute and blacklisting by Carillion.

150 GMB members employed by Carillion at Swindon have taken 21 days of strike action over the persistent failure of the Carillion management to deal with evidence of bribery and corruption on the contract which was covered up for some years.See Note 1 below for progress of the dispute up to 19th November 2012.

The details of the demonstration and the rally are as follows:

Demonstrate from 12.00 noon to 1 pm

Tuesday 20 th November 2012
Royal London Hospital –
 run by Carillion
Whitechapel Road
Whitechapel
London E1 1BB

Rally on “Blacklisting, racial abuse, bullying, extortion – a modern workplace at Carillion.”

6pm to 7pm 20 November 2012
Grand Committee Hall
House of Commons
Westminster
London SW1A 0AA

Speakers: Dave Smith, a worker blacklisted by Carillion; Pragna Petal,  Southall Black Sisters;  Shami Chakrabarti, Liberty; Frank Doran MP;  Simon Woolley, Commissioner Equality and Human Rights Commission  and Shah Qureshi, Bindmans Solicitors; and others.

Earlier this month at hearings on blacklisting by the Scottish Affairs Committee the Carrillion managers who dealt with blacklisting were named as follows: 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 and Brian Tock Managing Director of Crown House. John Edwards from Carillion is identified as attending Consulting Association meetings in 2008. 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.

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 was not something isolated or rare. GMB estimates that in one quarter 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.

Kamaljeet Jandu GMB National Officer for equality and inclusion said “We are not anywhere near resolving the dispute at Swindon or reaching a settlement on blacklisting.

Carillion have got to come to terms with what their managers have done to workers in Swindon and to the workers they blacklisted. There is not much use just making apologies. They have to accept what they did was wrong and then take steps to put it right. Until this happens there will be no end to this dispute.”

                                                    End

Contact: Kamaljeet Jandu 07956 237 178 Paul Maloney, GMB Regional Secretary on 07801 343839 or Justin Bowden, GMB National Officer on 07710 631351 or Maria Ludkin GMB National Officer for Legal and Corporate Affairs on 07956 632 657 or GMB Press Office: Steve Pryle on 07921 289880 or Rose Conroy on 07974 251823.

Notes to Editors:

Progress of GMB dispute with Carillion in Swindon from December 2011 up to 19 November 2012.

The GMB members work as porters and housekeepers in catering and cleaning and other support roles at the Swindon PFI hospital. The industrial action only involves GMB members who work for Carillion. It does not involve the more than 200 GMB members who work for the NHS Trust or the ambulance service at the Great Western Hospital.

GMB members originally voted overwhelmingly in December 2011 for strike action in protest against bullying and discrimination 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.

GMB submitted a formal complaint by 109 staff over allegations of bullying in December 2011. During the early months of 2012 90 staff members gave evidence of terrible bullying.
In total GMB members have taken 21 days of strike action so far. They took part in 24 hour stoppages on 14th, 21st and 23rd Feb over bullying, harassment and discrimination by local Carillion management. These were followed by 3 further days of strike action on 27th, 28th and 29th February. There were five days of strike action between 8th & 12th March. A further seven days strike took place between March 17th and March 23rd. There was a march and rally in Swindon on March 17th. The 19th day of strike action took place on May 16th. There was also a public meeting in Swindon on that date. The 20th day of strike action was on June 11th when the strikers visited GMB Congress in Brighton. These members took part in a further one day stoppage on Sunday 15th July. This was the twenty first day of strike action by these workers who took part in the march and rally at Tolpuddle that day.
In June 2012 these GMB members learned that a second investigation by Carillion into complaints by members found evidence of bribery and shakedowns on the contract. Written reports of the second investigation into GMB members’ grievances was circulated to members also admitted to racism, bullying and intimidation.

Carillion did not invite GMB to discuss the outcome of the second investigation. Instead the company issued disciplinary proceedings against 10 GMB members who were the whistle blowers and the victims of the bullying and ‘gold for employment rights’. These members have now been found guilty of being “shaken down”.  GMB has lodged appeals against these guilty verdicts. The appeals were dismissed in November 2012.

The manager at the heart of the bullying allegations left Carillion in February 2012. At talks with GMB in February 2012 Carillion said that they had reluctantly accepted the resignation of the manager at the centre of the dispute but that they were not prepared to uphold any of the grievances of the staff. After the first Carillion investigation failed to uphold complaints GMB filed almost 100 discrimination claims on behalf of the members at the Employment Tribunal. These members are represented by Bindmans, the UK’s leading human rights legal firm. Talks at ACAS to resolve the dispute collapsed on 10th October the claims now go to an Employment Tribunal for a full hearing.


In Feb 2012 GMB was given assurances by RMT and ASLEF, whose member’s London Transport pension fund is a major shareholder in Semperian PPP Investment Partners, the owners of the 30 year PFI contract at Great Western Hospital in Swindon, that they would intervene in the dispute with Carillion staff at the hospital. This has since happened.
GMB wrote to the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee asking for an investigation into the siphoning off of NHS cash into tax free scams for foreign investors using Channel Islands. This is after it came to light that the holding company of Semperian that owns 35 PFI contracts to run NHS hospitals in the UK, including that in Swindon, is based in Jersey for the express purpose to enable overseas investors to avoid tax on dividend income arising from running these NHS facilities. The ultimate holding company is Jersey registered Semperian PPP Investment Partners Holdings Ltd. GMB is calling on the chancellor to stop this this tax avoidance.

In March 2012 Dave Smith, a trade unionist who was blacklisted by his employer Carillion advised GMB about the activities of a Carillion HR manager involved with the Swindon dispute in his own blacklisting. Dave Smith said that a London Employment Tribunal in January was presented with evidence that Liz Keates the Carillion HR Director involved in the dispute at Swindon managed Carillion’s relationship with the Consulting Association. This was the body that was responsible for the ‘blacklisting’ 3,200 construction workers and excluding them from employment because of their trade union activities. In June GMB published a report on blacklisting by Carillion.

The GMB report“BLACKLISTING - illegal corporate bullying endemic, systemic and deep-rooted in Carillion and other companies” is on the GMB website athttp://www.gmb.org.uk/. Arising from this report GMB is preparing separate legal action against Carillion for blacklisting. GMB has since given evidence to the Scottish Affairs Committee on blacklisting.

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 was not something isolated or rare. GMB estimates that in one quarter 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 from the ICO 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.

Carrillion managers involved with blacklisting named at the Scottish Affairs Committee 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 and Brian Tock Managing Director of Crown House. John Edwards from Carillion is identified as attending Consulting Association meetings in 2008. 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.

GMB wrote to employment agencies including SkyBlue Solutions to make them aware that Regulation 7 of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Business Regulations 2003 prohibits an employment business (agency) from providing temporary workers, to replace workers who were taking part in an official strike. An employment business supplying workers in these circumstances, will be committing a criminal offence and the end user/employer/client could be found to be aiding and abetting that offence.

The Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EASI) is the body responsible for enforcing the regulations.

GMB held protest demonstrations on Thursday 22nd March in both Swindon and Bath using a Wild West stagecoach to show that Sky Blue Solutions, a Bath employment agency, was running a ‘coach and horses’ through the law that forbids employment agencies to supply staff during trade disputes and should be punished for breaking the law.

GMB has condemned EASI failure to properly investigate the alleged strike breaking by Sky Blue Solutions. Breaches of the regulations result in a fine of £5,000 per worker per day supplied to do the work of the strikers. EASI has a dreadful track record on this.

GMB also organised a public meeting in the House of Commons on 10th July 2012 with MPs and other invited guests to assess how best to deal with the Carillion culture of corporate bullying and racism.

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