Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Construction group accused of 'hypocrisy'

Balfour Beatty have been accused of 'hypocrisy' after Balfour Beatty Construction Scottish and Southern Ltd were awarded the Sir George Earle Trophy - The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA's) most prestigious award at this years Occupational Health and Safety Awards in Birmingham on Friday 20th May 2011. It also won the Construction Industry Sector Award.

The official RoSPA press release 'commended the way safety representatives were pulled into practical problem-solving activities and also the company’s policy of valuing and acting on ideas from the workforce.'

Campaigners from the Blacklist Support Group branded the award as 'blatant hypocrisy':

Steve Kelly - spokesperson for the group said:
'At first I thought this was a joke. Balfour Beatty are the construction company with the WORST record of sacking and blacklisting Safety Representatives in the entire industry. To be praised for the way they treat their Safety Representatives is offensive.

'The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) issued Enforcement Notices to six separate subsidiaries of Balfour Beatty for their role in the disgusting Consulting Association blacklisting scandal. Balfour Beatty Construction Scottish and Southern Ltd were one of the firms issued with the Enforcement Notice.

'The ICO Notices were issued after Balfour Beatty were found to be part of a covert conspiracy to sack and blacklist safety representatives in the building industry. The evidence is damning: Balfour Beatty were not just passive recipients of the blacklisting information - they actively supplied personal sensitive data about safety reps working on their projects in order that they could not get jobs in the future.

'Peoples lives have been ruined because they were prepared to complain about electrical safety, asbestos, scaffolding or welfare facilities on building sites. It is blatant hypocrisy for Balfour Beatty to pick up this safety award and it also shows how out of touch RoSPA is about what actually goes on in real life rather than what the corporate spin-doctors tell them.'
John McDonnell MP called the Consulting Association blacklist: '...one of the worst cases of organised human rights abuse ever in the UK'

Bob Clark, managing director, Balfour Beatty Construction Scottish and Southern, said: 'The award recognises the ongoing effort, commitment and engagement of our employees in promoting a safe working culture.'

Steve Acheson from Blacklist Support Group responded:
'A very good friend of mine, Jim Lafferty was the safety rep at the Royal Opera House and raised a number of safety issues as part of his role. For his troubles, Balfour Kilpatrick (a subsidiary of Balfour Beatty - now trading as Balfour Beatty Engineering Services) blacklisted him and made it almost impossible for him to find steady work. We can prove this because the ICO seized the blacklist files with Balfour Beatty's paw prints all over them. I suffered the same treatment with Balfour's - as have many other union safety reps who had the audacity to stand up for their rights. Jim Lafferty passed away last year without even an apology from Balfour Beatty and the other construction firms that breached his human rights. Jim is only one of 3000 workers who have had their lives ruined by this covert blacklist but because we are building workers rather than celebrities, no-one seems to be concerned about us. At least News International had the decency to own up and offer compensation to the people whose phones they had hacked. Not a single construction firm including Balfour Beatty has had the common decency to apologise to any of the safety reps who they kept secret files on in order to stop us getting work. I have more respect for Rupert Murdoch than I do for Bob Clarke.'

No comments: