Peace breaks out between Unite and BFK
Unite the Union and the BAM Ferrovial Kier (BFK) joint venture have settled their dispute over blacklisting on the £15B Crossrail project. According to a joint statement from the parties, they have "successfully concluded matters".
BFK has acknowledged that “the conclusion of the contract with specialist electrical sub-contractor EIS could have been handled better” and the parties have agreed to work together to continue the provision of transparent working practices, including safeguarding the right of workers to choose whether or not to join a trade union.
The dispute, which has lasted a year, had centred on the sacking of Frank Morris, a shop steward who had raised health and safety concerns over cabling in tunnels. Unite had claimed that the dismissal of EIS and its 28-strong workforce from the contract was linked to the raising of H&S issues.
Crossrail denied that this was the case and, according to the statement, Unite now agrees that there has been “no contravention of the Blacklisting Regulations on the BFK Crossrail projects”. However the union says that it still has an issue with the weakness of the regulations.
Andrew Wolstenholme, Crossrail chief executive, said: “Blacklisting is indefensible, unacceptable and unlawful. Unite has now issued a joint statement with our western tunnels contractor BFK stating that no blacklisting has taken place.”
During its leveraging campaign, Unite undertook hundreds of demonstrations at sites relating to the BFK partners, including Thames Water’s offices. Frank Morris is returning to work on Crossrail.
Dave Smith, secretary of the Blacklist Support Group, said: "We are no longer prepared to sit back when our best activists are victimised and blacklisted. The reinstatement of Frank Morris is a kick in the teeth for the blacklisting firms and a turning point in industrial relations in the construction industry.”
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