Thursday, 24 February 2011

Not So Discrete Survival of Building Site Blacklisting


7am Tuesday 1st March

ENFIELD based electrician Frank Morris has been sacked from working on the prestigious Media Centre at the Olympics after blowing the whistle on the use of an illegal blacklist on the construction project.

Frank's dismissal by Daletech Services followed weeks of intimidation and threats of violence by members of senior management after Frank Morris had raised concerns about the dismissal of a co-worker. The co-worker was dismissed from the Olympics Media Centre being built by Skanska and Carillion after his name appeared on a blacklist of trade union members. Frank raised concerns about this illegal practice and was victimised, bullied, threatened with violence by senior management to the point that Frank had to call the police for his own protection before finally being dismissed.

The protest is outside the prestige Olympic Media Centre site - the Skanska site where the blacklisting took place - which is in Pudding Mill Lane - adjacent to Pudding Mill DLR and in the shadow of the Olympic Stadium.

Skanska and Carillion were two of the major building contractors exposed for using an illegal blacklist of trade union members following a raid on the premises of the Consulting Association by the government's Information Commissioners Office in 2009. The Consulting Association collated a secret database of trade union members on behalf of 44 multi-national construction firms who funded, supplied information and directed the workings of the blacklist. The Consulting association database was declared illegal following a successful prosecution in 2009. Invoices seized during the raid show that Skanska alone paid over £28,000 a year to use the blacklist. Skanska have conceded that 30 of their senior managers participated in the Consulting Association operation. There are currently numerous Employment Tribunal cases against Skanska, Carillion and Daletech because of the blacklisting scandal.

John McDonnell MP called the Consulting Association scandal "the worst case of organised human rights abuse ever in the UK". It seems that the illegal practice is still alive and well on the most high-profile building project in the world.

Below are Frank Morris' own words on the matter:

'When I started August 2010 at the Olympic I was overjoyed, I secured a job at the Media Centre for Daletech Services who were contracted to Skanska with Carillion being main contractor. I brought into the Olympic dream and proud that I could be part of building of it. I was also guaranteeing myself a reasonable weekly wage in the worst recession since the great depression which was a lifeline to me and my family.

'Late last year, a fellow electrician was dismissed from site, this worker had an impeccable work record; 100% attendance and punctuality, he was earning a productivity bonus which meant he was achieving over and above his daily work target and he had an impeccable disciplinary record. I was in complete shock the project was in mid flow we were all looking at a minimum of at least 6 months work and the contractor we were working for seemed to have plenty of work in the pipeline for 2011.

'Later that same day, I was speaking to my electrical supervisor and asked what was the reason behind the dismissal. The reply was astonishing, he stated he was dismissed because his name has come up on a list that he was a union man and a known troublemaker. My electrical supervisor confirmed this again the following day. The other electrician had previously been a shop steward on another London construction project.

'I passed on this information to the sacked electrician and his trade union, so he could understand the real reason for his dismissal. During the subsequent appeal hearing, the name of the electrical supervisor in question and the conversation I had previously recalled was divulged. That was the end of my Olympic experience.

'I was immediately removed of site and transferred to Belmarsh Prison extension still working for Daletech Services with Skanska this time were the main contractor. I was forced to work in isolation (in contravention of the main contractors health and safety procedures), site management waged a campaign of intimidation and bullying against me. On 16th December 2010, I had to call the police and ask for protection as a senor electrical engineer threatened me with violence; he said was going to follow me off the site and assault me. I tried my best to resolve the issues using the company grievance procedure. For the next 6 weeks, I suffered daily examples of intimidation by site management. If I could of found another job at any time, I would of resigned: the fact was, I could not afford to leave.

'On 14th February 2011, the management told me to attend a disciplinary hearing and I was sacked. I had previously worked on numerous railway projects and was represented at the hearing by Steve Hedley (RMT union official). I was not sacked because of poor workmanship or lateness but because I raised concerns about the use of an illegal blacklist. My union is representing me in an Employment Tribunal claim. I am now unemployed.'

Steve Hedley RMT Official says:

'In over 25 years representing workers, I have never seen such a blatant stitch up victimisation and even threats of violence to a union activist who's only "crime" was to expose an illegal blacklist operating on the Olympic site. The disciplinary hearing was a farce with management dismissing a threat to our member made by his site manager of "come outside and sort this out man to man" despite the manager putting these very words in his own witness statement.'

Contact info. to follow up story:

Frank Morris 07779 782904
Steve Hedley (RMT) 07545 530526

More information on

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