Unite, the UK’s largest union, has described revelations that the new Midland Metropolitan Hospital may not be completed until 2022 as ‘a kick in the teeth’ for workers in the West Midlands, the local economy and patients.
The project has been stalled since January following the collapse of the main contractor Carillion.
Since the company’s collapse Unite has been urging the government to ensure that construction projects are re-started as quickly as possible in order to help keep sub-contractors (many of whom lost huge amounts of money following Carillion’s collapse) afloat and ensuring work for construction workers. With regards to the Metropolitan Hospital those calls seem to have been ignored.
Skanska has been identified as the preferred contractor to re-start work at the hospital, which is two thirds completed, but the government has not given the local hospital trust the green light to procced with the project.
The chair of the Sandwell NHS Trust Toby Lewis, has this week admitted that the project could be delayed until 2022 due to the delay and that the failure to re-start work means that the site is deteriorating.
The delay and the worsening condition of the site will almost inevitably lead to an increase in the cost of the project.
Whoever is appointed as the main contractor, Unite will ensure that workers are paid properly and that safety is not cut in a bid to reduce losses in a rush to finish the project.
Unite’s acting West Midlands regional secretary, Howard Beckett said: “The delay to this flagship project is a kick in the teeth to the local economy. Local companies suffered huge losses and workers lost their jobs through no fault of their own when Carillion collapsed.
“It was imperative that this project was re-started as soon as possible to help get the local economy back on its feet, the government has failed to enable that to occur.
Conservative government failures
“This is a direct result of the Conservative’s policies which allowed Carillion to collapse and then failed to intervene sufficiently to ensure that the fallout was kept to a minimum.
“The delay in the hospital’s completion is grim news for patients in the area they deserve and need a new hospital to receive treatment. They are now potentially facing a further two year wait until the new hospital is functional.
“When the job is re-started Unite will ensure that the pay, conditions and the safety of the workforce are not infringed or undermined in a rush to complete this project.
“It is essential that the West Midlands has the new hospital it desperately needs as soon as possible but this must not be at the expense of the construction workers building it.”
Notes to editors:
Liverpool hospital delay stark reality of Carillion collapse
For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.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.