Wednesday, 27 July 2011


AT 7.50am this morning, pickets put up banners calling on British construction companies to 'Stop Victimising Trade Union Workers' outside the Denton Community College in Denton, and protesting at Tameside Council for harbouring and encouraging a firm accused of blacklisting: that firm is the construction company Carillion. Carillion was named together with more than 40 other building companies as being affiliated to the Consultancy Association; the director of the Consulting Association, Ian Kerr, pleaded guilty to compiling an illegal database without a proper license at Knutsford Crown Court. Tameside MBC is currently Labour controlled, and since Roy Oldham died, has been led by Kieran Quinn, a Droylsden East councillor, who is a member of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) and a former postal worker: according to this biography. Councillor Quinn has outside interests in bodies like New Charter Building Company and he is a member of the Commission for the New Economy.

Today's pickets outside the Denton Community College are disgruntled members of Unite the Union who regard themselves as being blacklisted by companies like Carillion. Carillion won a contract for £300 million in Tameside in 2008 for a joint venture project on schools in the borough when Roy Oldham was still the Executive leader of Tameside MBC. At the time that Carillion won this work to build and rebuild schools in Tameside, Councillor Oldham was quoted as saying: 'Tameside will be the envy of other cities and towns across the country.' If Carillion turns out to be a big-time blacklister this may yet come back to haunt Tameside MBC and it is understood that Tameside Trade Union Council is writing to councillor Quinn to question his role in continuing the local authority's business links with Carillion, given that it has been accused of blacklisting.

Northern Voices was told in April that Tameside MBC had set up Local Education Partnerships and was actively out-sourcing work to Carillion. Local Education Partnerships give work on schools: both building and maintaining schools. As part of a Local Education Partnership, Carillion don't have to tender for other work such as catering in schools, cleaning across the Council, caretaking, security in schools and council buildings. Reliable sources close to the Council suggest that Carillion want to take over Dukinfield Town Hall to use as a flagship for weddings and functions, and possibly a hotel. Currently, the Town Hall is used as a Registry Office and for administrative purposes.

Given that Carillion has well and truly got its feet under the table with the Council in Tameside, it will be highly inconvenient if a bunch of whingeing local electricians who claim that they are being blacklisted get in the way. These kind of anti-blacklist campaigners have trodden the streets of Manchester for the best part of a decade and don't seem to want to go away. If they start doing regular pickets in Tameside they might damage the commercial prospects of Carillion: I'd better sell my shares in the company!

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