Moves by a leading local authority, Islington council to bring its housing repairs service back in-house have been welcomed by the country’s biggest union, Unite today (Friday 1 August).
The council has broken the £16.5 million-a-year contract with construction firm Kier, which had been running the service for 14 years. The 140 staff involved will now become council employees.
Unite hailed the move as a significant step forward in the campaign to clean up construction and called on other councils to follow suit. Kier is one of several companies accused of being involved in the notorious practice of blacklisting which saw thousands of construction workers frozen out of work by anti-union employers.
Unite called on other councils to audit their contracts for blacklisting and rogue practices - and where services can be brought back in-house from companies abusing the law, they move to do so.
Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “Today’s move by Islington council is extremely significant. Residents of that borough can now look forward to a housing repair service that is publicly run with no profit-motive.
“Taxpayers are not only getting the best level of service and value for money, but they can have the peace of mind that their council is preventing their taxes going towards the funding of illegal practices.
“Companies involved in the despicable practice of blacklisting have ruined lives through their actions over decades, and it should not ever be acceptable for blacklisters to profit from public contracts.
“We call on other councils and public bodies to follow Islington’s lead and look at ways of bringing services in-house from blacklisters.”
In March this year, following a similar move by the Welsh Assembly, Islington council passed a motion to bar companies involved in blacklisting from council contracts.
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940 and/or the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065.