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Giant rat in super sewer protest

Giant rat in super sewer protest

06 June 2013

Unite, Britain's biggest union, will stage a protest outside Thames Water's head office in Reading tomorrow (7 June) with a giant rat to urge the utility company not to award the super sewer infrastructure project to BAM and Ferrovial, which the union believes are allowing the blacklisting and victimisation of workers to take place on the Crossrail project.

The protest will take place at Thames Water's headquarters, Vastern Road, Reading RG1 8DB between 10.00-11.00.

Both BAM and Ferrovial are part of joint ventures bidding to win huge construction contracts to work on the proposed London ‘Super Sewer’. Contracts will be awarded by Thames Water at some point in 2013.

In September 2012, sub-contracting company EIS was removed from the Crossrail project and 28 workers made redundant. The company had been employed by the consortium BFK (BAM, Ferrovial and Kier) to complete essential electrical work. There is meaningful evidence that the EIS contract was terminated as part of a wider strategy to victimise trade unionists and prevent trade union activity.   

Unite believes that the actions of Crossrail and its major contractors are tantamount to ‘blacklisting’ – denying employment to unionised workers for raising legitimate safety concerns. Shortly, after the removal of EIS from the project a major safety incident was recorded that put a worker's life at risk.

BAM Nuttall paid £38,371.85 to the blacklisting organisation the Consulting Association to run checks on workers between 1996 and 2009.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: "Victimising trade unionists and blacklisting are an attack on basic human rights. For this reason companies that engage in blacklisting shouldn't be awarded publicly backed infrastructure projects. BAM's reputation is at serious risk and it poses a reputational risk to Thames Water."

ENDS

Contact Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315

Notes to editors:

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.