This Assembly notes that links between the shameful and unlawful practice of blacklisting and Crossrail’s industrial relations manager, Ron Barron, risk tarnishing the integrity of this taxpayer-funded project.
To illustrate just how widespread blacklisting in the construction industry is, in February 2009 the Information Commissioner’s officials raided the offices of ‘The Consulting Association’, a firm operating a blacklist containing the names of thousands of construction workers. Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Amec, Skanska, Taylor Woodrow, Sir Robert McAlpine (the Olympic Stadium contractor), and over thirty other construction companies used the Consulting Association database, which contained information about construction workers’ personal relationships, trade union activity, and employment history. The Observerreported on 29 July 2012 that “records suggest McAlpine alone spent £28,000 on checks”, and that “Eighty-six men are suing Sir Robert McAlpine for £17m in lost earnings”.
The Observer later reported on 2 December 2012 that “Ron Barron…cross-checked job applicants against a secret list of workers to be barred from the industry…introduced the use of the blacklist at his former employer, the construction firm CB&I, and referred to it more than 900 times in 2007 alone.”
This Assembly notes that the Chief Executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation has partially addressed concerns about the issue of blacklisting on the Olympic Park and other ODA projects. However, the Assembly awaits with interest the response of the Information Commissioner’s Office regarding whether any ODA Tier 1 contractors carried out checks through the Consulting Association.
Given Dennis Hone’s “regret” that concerns regarding blacklisting on the Olympics have been raised after project completion, this Assembly calls upon the Mayor to provide evidence of steps taken to ensure that no blacklisting is, or has, taken place on Crossrail, a project that London taxpayers and the GLA, via TfL, are heavily invested in.
Crossrail is currently London’s biggest infrastructure project, costing £15billion, and it is deeply concerning that 28 workers were allegedly removed from this project after safety issues were raised. Given these concerns, the Assembly also calls on the Mayor to disassociate himself from such practices and, in addition, emphasise that every employee must be protected in raising health and safety concerns without fear of reprisals.