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GMB Protest At Nationwide HQ

Thursday, June 30, 2016

GMB To Protest Outside Nationwide Headquarters In Swindon Over Unethical Treatment Of Cleaners

We must make sure that Nationwide are fully aware of the kind of Company Carillion are says GMB.

GMB, the union for cleaners at Nationwide, will hold a protest outside the building society’s headquarters in Swindon over subcontractor Carillion’s refusal to communicate with staff about changes to holiday entitlement. (See notes to editors for previous GMB press releases about Carillion).

In 2004, cleaning staff at Carillion agreed to a reduced pay rise in exchange for the ability to take paid holiday entitlement in long blocks. Earlier in the year, Carillion imposed a new holiday arrangement limiting cleaning staff to a maximum of two weeks off at one time without consultation with GMB or its members.

GMB members will protest on Tuesday 5th July holding banners saying “Nationwide and Carillion, judged by the company you keep.” GMB will also hand Nationwide’s head of procurement a copy of an apology from Carillion to Blacklisted workers following their involvement in the blacklisting scandal. GMB believes that Nationwide Building Society’s claim to be an ethical employer is revealed to be false their association with Carillion.

GMB members will assemble at 8:30 am on Tuesday 5th July at the address as follows:

Nationwide House
Pipers Way

Carole Vallelly, GMB Regional Organiser, said “Every single cleaner working at Nationwide is a GMB member. Our members had a grievance over changes to the holiday arrangements, and Carillion had agreed a sensible way forward to meet them all together and discuss.

Then, on the day of the meeting, Carillion cancelled it and told the cleaners that they would all have to go and see the managers individually. Our members feel that this change was intended to intimidate them, and that it shows that Carillion are dismissive of their concerns.

Along with the letter cancelling the collective meeting, Carillion included as justification a policy written by Liz Keates, their HR Director. GMB has a great deal of experience with Liz Keates from her involvement in the unethical practice of blacklisting.

In May, Carillion, alongside other Construction companies made an agreed statement in court where they apologized and admitted to the misuse of personal information in breach of the Data Protection Act 1998, in order to conduct a secret vetting operation that denied employment to thousands of blameless individuals.

On the very day that Carillion made that statement in court, Nationwide Building Society, a so-called ethical employer, signed a renewal for 7 years of their own contract with Carillion. To make sure that Nationwide are fully aware of the kind of Company Carillion are, we will hand them a copy of the statement made by Carillion.”


Contact: Carolle Vallelly on 07912 181 476 or GMB press office on 07970 863411 or 07739 182691

Notes to Editors

1 GMB press release dated Thursday, October 23, 2014

GMB “Crocodile Tears” Protest In Wolverhampton Thursday 23rd October 2014 To Shame Liz Keates Carillion HR Manager Who Blacklisted 139 Workers

Managers like Liz Keates shedding crocodile tears now for her part in blacklisting 3,213 workers won't wash, neither will the Nuremberg Defence of "just following superior orders” says GMB.

GMB held a protest demonstration in Wolverhampton on Thursday 23rd October to shame Liz Keates, Head of Employee Relations at Carillion Plc who was named in Parliament as a blacklister. She has yet to come clean and apologise for the hurt and damage she did blacklisting 139 workers.

Liz Keates was the HR director covering the GMB dispute at Swindon Hospital which started in 2012 and is still ongoing. GMB representatives from Carillion at Swindon PFI Hospital attended the protest. 51 GMB members are pursuing claims at an ET to hold Carillion to account for race discrimination, bullying and harassment and victimisation that Liz Keates failed to deal with at the hospital after 21 days of strike action in 2012.  GMB members work as porters and housekeepers in catering and cleaning and other support roles. 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.

Blacklisting came to light when in 2009 the ICO seized a Consulting Association database, run by Ian Kerr, 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.

This was the third date in a national “Crocodile Tears” protest tour to shame 63 construction industry managers named as blacklisters who have yet to come clean and apologise for their actions. See notes to editors 1 for the 10 dates in the first leg of a national tour and notes to editors 2 for the list the 63 managers and where they worked.

The protest  was held outside Carillion, Birch Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 4HY There was a person in a crocodile suit accompanied by union members with flags and banners and slogans “Nuremberg defence on blacklisting won’t wash” and  “Blacklisters come clean”. See picture on GMB website.

Liz Keates (LK), Head of Employee Relations at Carillion plc was named by Ian Kerr as the main contact for Carillion / Crown House Engineering and Tarmac.  She joined Crown House Engineering, which was part of Tarmac, in 1998.

The initials LK appear 92 times against 75 different individuals in the blacklist files while working for the company 3271/81, the code used for Crown House Engineering, Carillion and Tarmac. 64 separate workers have been refused work after Liz Keates checked their records with The Consulting Association. 11 of these were refused work twice and 2 workers refused work three times.

Carillion, and associated companies, have been described by Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd as ‘heavy users of the Consulting Association in terms of the amount of information provided by the Carillion Third Parties on workers. Further, the number of occasions on which the Carillion Third Parties are recorded as refusing employment to workers is particularly high compared to other members of the Consulting Association.’

These are some examples:

·    An electrician from Edinburgh blacklisted in 1977 applied to 3271/81 in March 2003, 26 years later and was not employed by LK.

·    An electrician from Dundee, blacklisted in November 1976 applied to work for 3271/81 26 years later in September 2002. LK given details and was not employed.

·    A pipefitter from Suffolk blacklisted in 1978 for being an alleged ‘strike leader’ in 1998 applied to 3271/81 and was not employed. He applied again in 2000, LK given details and not employed.

·    An electrician from Liverpool put on the blacklist by Costain in 1993 applied to work for 3271/81 in 2000, in 2003 and 2005. LK blacklisted him 3 times.

·    An electrician from Warrington was put on the blacklist by Haden Young with the comments ‘would not re-employ – assistant shop steward” applied to 3271/81 in 2003, LK given details and not employed.

·    An electrician from Essex was put on the blacklist in 1977.’ Applied to 3271/81 26 years later in 2003, LK given details and not employed.

·    Same contact, same outcome for a Glaswegian plumber blacklisted in 1978 when applying to 3271/81 for a job in October 2000, 22 years later.

·    One electrician from Tooting applied to 3271/81 on 4 occasions in 2000, 2002 and 2003. Refused work all four times, three of those times by LK.

·    A pipefitter from Essex was put on to the blacklist in 1980 because he was spoken to by a journalist from the Morning Star and their replies formed a feature article in the paper. Because of this he was not employed by LK in          2002 when he applied to work for 3271/81.

·    An electrician from London blacklisted by Morgan Est on the Jubilee Line’ in 1998 was refused work by LK and 3271/81 at their Norfolk & Norwich Hospital site. Another electrician from Gateshead was also refused work             on this hospital site in 2000.

·    An electrician from Braintree, blacklisted in 1985 for being ‘politically motivated’ was refused work in 2003 by LK and 3271/81.

·    In 1977 an electrician from Manchester found himself put on the blacklist for being ‘mixed up with a left wing organisation’. He applied for work in 2003 with 3271/81, LK given details and not employed.

·    An electrician from Glasgow was put on the blacklist in 1978 as an ex-employee of Balfour Beatty. Despite further information stating that a company ‘experienced no problems’ with him and ‘did not regard him as an activist’       he     applied to work for 3271/81 twice in 2002. On both occasions LK was given details and not employed.

·    A welder from Kent was put on the blacklist in 2000 by LK for being a ‘main agitator with mechanical sub-sub-contractor at Pfizer, Kent.’ After this he was refused work twice by Skanska.

·    A joiner from Hartlepool applied to work for 3271/81 on the GCHQ, Cheltenham contract. Danny O’Sullivan at Kier blacklisted him in 1997 for having been ‘drawn along by the course of events at JLE. Not in front-line                of  action’. He was refused work by LK in 2002 and again in 2003.

·    An electrician from Glasgow, blacklisted in 1974 for being a deputy shop steward at the Methil Power Station Site applied to 3271/81 for the Hymires Hospital contract in 2000. LK was given details and did not employ.

·    An electrician from Durham, blacklisted in 2003 by Costain at Barrow Power Station was refused employment twice in 2003 by LK.

·    An electrician from Croydon, blacklisted in 1985 was refused work by LK on their Gatwick Airport contract in 2000.

On October 16th there was a hearing in the High Court on compensation for 122 GMB members blacklisted by Carillion and other construction employers on claims served in November 2013. GMB’s claims were joined with a further 449 claims by other unions and parties at a High Court Hearing in July 2014. The next hearing is 17th December

Talks between GMB and lawyers for Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI PLC on a compensation scheme broke down in June over the amount of money being put into the scheme. Employers have unilaterally launched a cut price scheme GMB estimates will cost less than 2% of the combined profits of the eight construction firms.

So far 1,724 out of the 3,213 on the list know they are on blacklist and of these 570 cases are covered by claims in the High Court. That leaves 1,489 still to trace. See notes to editors for details of where those blacklisted come from.

Justin Bowden, GMB national officer, said “Liz Keates and the rest might have thought they had got away scot-free, so shedding crocodile tears now for the systematic blacklisting of 3,213 building workers and environmentalists won't wash, neither will the Nuremberg Defence of "just following superior orders".

These so-called HR Professionals who ran the blacklists for the construction companies knew exactly what they were doing and they need to either apologise, come clean and say what they did, or get used to accounting in public for the damage they did to those they blacklisted and their families, especially with the Public Inquiry Labour has pledged after the next election.

Just as the construction companies who paid their wages are being called to account in parliament, the courts and the media, every single one of these secret blacklisters will have their role dissected in public."



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