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5 November 2012
A bid from Carillion is unwelcome until they properly acknowledge the vile history of blacklisting of companies that make up the group and compensate the workers whose lives they blighted says GMB
GMB, the union for school support staff, is organising a public meeting in Stafford on November 13th to mobilise opposition to the outsourcing of Staffordshire Education Support Services (ESS) and to the bid by Carillion until they compensate the 224 workers they blacklisted across the UK.
Staffordshire County Council are tendering to set up a new joint business with a private sector contractor for 400 schools for school meals and catering, cleaning, property management, grounds maintenance, building maintenance, music tuition, teacher training and ICT. The tender also covers Outdoor Education, Staffordshire Performing Arts, the School Governors Service, Education Transformation, Staffordshire Learning Technologies, and the Learning and Development Arm.
The preferred bidder for this ESS contract is due to be notified on 30 November 2012 with Cabinet decision on contract award in February 2013 with the contract awarded in March 2013 (subject to Cabinet decision with a start date of 1 April 2013. The lower end of the contract value is £700m with the total contract value potentially being £2bn.
Unless this is stopped 5,000 staff will be outsourced to a new employer from 1st April 2013.
The public meeting details are as follows:
From 6pm to 8pm
Tuesday 13th November
Lecture theatre Room BE304
Broad Eye Building,
Stafford ST16 2QR
Speakers – Dave Smith – blacklisted by Carillion- from the Blacklist Support Group, Ron Clarke, Staffordshire Labour Councillors, Carole Vallelly GMB officers and members in dispute with Carillion after 21days of strike action at Swindon PFI hospital, Kamaljeet Jandu GMB National Equality Officer and Justin Bowden GMB National Officer.
Last month Paul Farrelly MP called for bidding to be halted on conflict of interest grounds. This was after Phil Cresswell, who led this ESS outsourcing for Staffordshire, quit the council in September to become business development director Carillion one of three firms picked to compete for the contract.
Carillion's involvement with blacklisting came to light when, in 2009, the Information Commissioners Office ( ICO) seized a database held by 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. It is not known how many Staffordshire workers were blacklisted as only 198 of those on the blacklist know they are on it leaving 3,015 unaware of this.
In June 2012 GMB published a report showing that blacklisting by Carillion was not something isolated or rare. The 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 GMB report “BLACKLISTING - illegal corporate bullying endemic, systemic and deep-rooted in Carillion and other companies” will be sent to all Staffordshire Councillors and school governors. Click the link on the home page of GMB website for the report.
The 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 The Consulting Association, 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.
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). Arising from this GMB report the union 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." See full statement in notes below.
During the still unresolved GMB dispute with Carillion at the Swindon PFI Hospital, where there have been 21 days of strike action over shake downs and cover ups, it emerged that Liz Keates, the Carillion HR manager dealing with it, was the company main link to the Consulting Association.
Chris Humphreys, GMB regional officer, said “GMB oppose outsourcing of ESS whoever wins the bid. Bidding should be halted due to conflicts of interests after the top manager changed sides.
Parents and staff in Staffordshire should not have to do business with a company like Carillion that did business with the blacklisting body Consulting Association until they purge their guilt.
Thus a bid from Carillion is unwelcome until they properly acknowledge the vile history of blacklisting of companies that make up the group and compensate the workers whose lives they blighted.
It has taken years of campaigning to get companies like Carillion to drop their denials and cover ups and apologise. However Carillion are in denial when they say their involvement in blacklisting was limited to Crown House.
The Blacklist Support Group makes clear 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. See notes to editors for statement by the Blacklist Support Group.
Carillion will be told by Staffordshire people that blacklisting 224 workers and supplying information to a database that was used to blacklist 3,213 workers till 2009 is far from a minor matter.