Calls for blacklisting firms to be blocked from Commons refurbishment work

07 Jun 2019

At PCS's instigation the joint House of Commons trade union side, representing all staff working in parliament has called on the House of Commons Commission to not employ construction firms who were involved in illegal blacklisting of union members, on the forthcoming refurbishment contract of the estate - reported to be worth as much as £4 billion.

A letter sent this week to speaker of the House John Bercow, said it is “crucial that parliament should not be seen to employ companies and individuals who have engaged in the blacklisting of workers for, among other reasons, simply being trade union members”.

Last month seven contractors agreed to pay more than 50 workers close to £36,000 each in compensation after Unite settled its case against firms who blacklisted workers.

Balfour Beatty, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and Vinci have all reached an agreement with the union which will see them shell out £1.9m in compensation to 53 workers.

The contractors have also agreed to put £230,000 into a training fund, which will be administered by Unite, for all victims of blacklisting who have brought proceedings.

The latest court case follows the 2016 court action which resulted in Unite securing £19.34m for 412 blacklisted workers.

Scrutiny of public money

Commons trade union side president Ken Gall says the restoration and renewal project for parliament will be a “very public and very welcome modernisation of the seat of our democracy, and as such will receive a great deal of scrutiny in terms of public money, design and the kind of parliament we want to see in the 21st century”.

He concludes by saying that the “reputational impact of awarding prestigious and hugely lucrative contracts to companies that previously engaged in illegal and outrageous treatment of the people they employed can hardly be exaggerated”.

And “We trust that parliament—which has a laudable aspiration to be an exemplary 21st century employer—would not wish to be seen to reward that behaviour”.

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