First Minister under pressure for failing to back unio...

First Minister under pressure for failing to back union rights

10 January 2017

Scotland’s biggest construction union has hit out after the First Minister failed to back union rights during a visit to a new hospital in Dumfries. 

The hospital is being built by a consortium led by construction firm Laing O’Rourke. Unite the union says the company has admitted blacklisting trade union workers in the past and has repeatedly failed to give unions proper access to the Dumfries site. 

Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: “The First Minister can’t claim to be ignorant of the situation at Dumfries. Our predecessor union UCATT has staged demonstrations at the site over the last few months and secured questions on the issue in Parliament.

“It is incredibly disappointing that Scotland’s First Minister can visit this site and praise the contractor for the jobs they have created, without making any mention of their failure to uphold workers’ rights. 

“Our members are becoming increasingly concerned about the Scottish Government’s hands-off approach when it comes to major construction projects. As well as the situation at Dumfries, we have had allegations of workers being paid less than the rate for the job at the Queensferry Crossing, and immigration raids there uncovering exploited illegal workers from the Indian sub-continent.

“The Scottish Government needs to make sure that the public purse isn’t used to support companies who exploit workers and try to undermine their trade union rights.”


Notes to editors

For more information contact Unite Scotland press officer David Eyre on 07960 451631 / 

The Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians (UCATT) merged with Unite the union on 1 January 2017. 

UCATT has repeatedly raised the issue of Laing O’Rourke’s failure to give trade unions proper access to the Dumfries hospital site, staging demonstrations in November

The issue was raised in the Scottish Parliament in a Member’s Motion by South of Scotland MSP Colin Smyth.