Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Balfour Beatty admit to 'blacklisting'. CEO says he had "no concerns about the morality of blacklisting."

The following report has been sent to NV by the Blacklisting Support Group (BSG):

"Workers blacklisted by Balfour Beatty for raising safety concerns have compared the company to the mafia following evidence to MPs by Mike Peasland, Chief Executive Officer, Balfour Beatty today. Peasland was giving evidence to the Scottish Affairs Select Committee investigation into blacklisting and openly admitted to MPs that he knew about the Consulting Association but had "no concerns about the morality of blacklisting"

Peasland refused to provide the MPs with a copy of their internal report into blacklisting but admitted that not a single employee was ever disciplined. He told the Select Committee that Balfour Beatty only stopped using the blacklist because of the ICO raid and that the company had no plans to stop using it.

Ian Davidson MP, chair of the Select Committee accused Peasland of: "Hiding behind the lawyer" to avoid answering questions.

Davidson said that the company position is that no individual employee should be disciplined because "they were only obeying orders" and asked "Don't you believe in such a thing as collective guilt?"

"I have real qualms about the validity of any apology you make. You don't really regret it; you only regret being caught"

Steve Acheson - Blacklist Support Group said:

"Peasland admitted that building workers who raised genuine safety concerns would end up blacklisted by Balfour Beatty.

I was an elected union safety rep who raised concerns on behalf of my fellow workers.

Balfour Beatty had no moral qualms about blacklisting me. They had no morals about sentencing my family to financial hardship.

Mike Peasland's performance was like watching an unrepentant mafia godfather: Don Corleone had a similar moral code."

Highlights of Peaslands evidence as follows:

We were heavy users and leading lights in the Consulting Association

We chaired the Consulting Association for 3 years

We averaged 15,000 blacklist name checks a year

We checked the names of staff employed by sub-contractors

No one could have been employed by Balfour Beatty without being blacklist checked by the Consulting Association.

If workers were hiding behind health & safety, that would get them blacklisted.

If workers raised concerns that they felt were genuine but the site manager felt it was not genuine, that would be enough to get them blacklisted.

If there was a consistent complaint about H&S but a manager considered it not bona-fide, this would get someone blacklisted

We were happy with the services we received from the Consulting Association.

We regret that we got caught

I knew what the Consulting Association was all about when I became head of Balfour Beatty but felt it was a fine.

I was concerned about the methodology of the Consulting Association.

I was not concerned about the morality of blacklisting.

Not a single person within Balfour Beatty was disciplined after the blacklist was exposed or following their own internal investigation.

BB refused to give MPs a copy of their internal report on their involvement in blacklisting."

NV says: The list of local authority's who are refusing to provide contracts to companies who are known to have been involved in blacklisting, is growing by theweek. In a recent report sent to us by the BSG, it was reported that Dundee City Council were being urged to veto blacklisting companies and not to award them contracts and Rother District Council in Sussex, recently supported a motion that construction companies known to have been involved in blacklisting will not be offered public contracts.

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