Unite, the UK’s largest construction union, has described the awarding of an ethical labour standard to leading blacklisting company Sir Robert McAlpine as ‘shocking and disgusting’.
This week Sir Robert McAlpine became the first construction contractor to be awarded the ‘Ethical Labour Sourcing’ standard by the Building Research Establishment (BRE).
Sir Robert McAlpine was at the centre of the Consulting Association blacklisting operation, supplying both the first and final chairman of the organisation and being one of the principal users of the blacklisting process which ruined the lives of thousands of workers.
The Consulting Association existed to enable companies to check the names of potential recruits (frequently workers recruited via employment agencies) against a central list.
Unite is currently suing Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd on behalf of victims of blacklisting having already secured millions of pounds in compensation for blacklisted workers from firms involved in the Consulting Association.
The award of the ethical labour standards to Sir Robert McAlpine is also controversial as 74 MPs have signed an early day motion calling on the company to be stripped of the contracts to refurbish Big Ben and the Elizabeth Tower because of its involvement in blacklisting.
Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “Awarding an ethical standard for labour sourcing to Sir Robert McAlpine is both shocking and disgusting. There is nothing ethical about blacklisting workers and ruining their lives.
“Sir Robert McAlpine was at the forefront of the Consulting Association ruining workers’ lives by blacklisting them and the victims of those practices will be very distressed to learn that its recruitment practices are now being lauded.
“While BRE’s intentions to monitor and improve the recruitment of construction workers should have been a step forward, the organisation has shot itself in the foot by glossing over the stench of blacklisting which permeates from Sir Robert McAlpine.”
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.