Earlier this year, the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) raided and closed the offices of Ian Kerr of the Consulting Association in Droitwich.
Kerr had developed a secret database of over 3,200 construction workers, with information provided to him by over 40 UK Construction companies over the last fifteen years.
My name is Alan Wainwright and I first met Kerr in 1997 whilst employed by Carillion plc (formerly Tarmac) as National Labour Manager for their mechanical and electrical division, Crown House Engineering.
Over the last few years I've been actively trying to expose Kerr and the blacklisting service he provided to the UK construction companies and their subsidiaries, as I strongly suspected that I too had been placed on the Blacklist after making protected disclosures about a fraud cover up and blacklisting procedures during my employment at Balfour Beatty PLC subsidiary Haden Young Limited in 2005.
The ICO confirmed this recently, which would probably explain why I've not gained any work in a Human Resources capacity for the last few years after making over 200 job applications.
The ICO have also confirmed a record on my file recovered from Kerrs' office dated January 2007, some four weeks after taking a previous employer, Balfour Beatty PLC subsidiary, Haden Young Limited to a Tribunal and exactly at the time I was giving evidence in the Acheson & Others v Logic Tribunal (Logic being a sub-contractor to a sub-contractor of another Balfour Beatty PLC subsidiary, Balfour Kilpatrick).
I'd like to get one or two things very clear right from the outset of this blog.
Firstly, Ian Kerr is not the primary cause of the Blacklist. The member construction companies set him up in business, funded his existence from the start, and each name on the list could only have been provided by the member companies.
For the Government to simply let the member companies get away with this would be a tragedy, and they would almost certainly set this up again in a different format, and more covertly than before to avoid detection.
I have read that certain MP's would like the member companies to be struck off Government tender lists. This would only have a negative effect for many of the employees of those companies, as the member companies would have to possibly make thousands of innocent people redundant, which would be unjust.
The key culprits in this are the Company Directors of the member companies who initially created The Consulting Association and those Company Directors who have since maintained, sustained and funded the Blacklist via Kerr. It is important to note that this was not a service Kerr offered to the companies for a fee, but a facility the member companies set up, funded, and maintained in a way to avoid detection or prosecution.
My second point is on the subject of compensation for those on the Blacklist. Almost all on the list will not be in any position to claim any compensation for loss of earnings for the following reasons: -
* Claimants will have to prove they have suffered a detriment in a court of law and almost all will not have the financial resources (or personal endeavor left) to take the necessary legal action against any of the member companies.
* Most on the list will not have kept records of job applications, rejections, etc and would have probably given up any hope of finding work in their sector.
Just being on the Blacklist has not been the only obstacle they have had to face. Like my own Curriculum Vitae, theirs will now have enough gaps of credible employment to put off any future employer.
I therefore do hope that the relevant Ministers will consider these points when deciding what action should be taken.
You are most probably reading this blog following an article in the Guardian by Rob Evans. I'm grateful to Rob and the Guardian for their help in exposing the actions of Kerr and the forty construction companies, but feel there is a lot more people need to know in relation to this matter.
I've therefore developed this blog to publish all the evidence in my possession, detailing exactly what I knew, who I relayed the information to, who else was in possession of the information, when they came into possession of the information, and what little if anything they did with it. Those involved include senior trade union officials and senior construction company directors.
Although over forty companies were implicated in the ICO disclosure, my evidence only relates to the following: -
Balfour Beatty PLC and their subsidiaries, Haden Young Limited and Balfour Kilpatrick Limited
Carillion PLC and their mechanical and electrical division, Crown House Engineering
Emcor PLC and their subsidiary Drake & Scull
Amicus (now part of Unite)
Since 2006, I've made a number of attempts to expose the identity of Kerr, the blacklisting procedures in the UK Construction Industry and the identity and involvement of some of the companies involved.
This included a website blog in 2006 detailing the names of approximately 500 electricians involved in health and safety disputes with their employers Balfour Kilpatrick and Drake & Scull in 1999/2000 on the Royal Opera House, Pfizer and Jubilee Line Extension projects. The 500 names and National Insurance numbers had been exchanged between Balfour Beatty subsidiary, Balfour Kilpatrick and Emcor subsidiary, Drake and Scull.
The website blog can be read here and can be expanded to full view by selecting the 'Toggle Full Screen' button in the top right hand corner of the insert:-
2006 Website Blog
I eventually took the website down, giving up any hope that anyone in authority would ever take this matter seriously. That was until David Clancy from the ICO contacted me last year and launched an investigation into my allegations.
The investigation followed a successful tribunal judgment for Acheson & Others against Logic Controls Limited in 2007. Logic Controls Limited were a subcontractor to a subcontractor of Balfour Kilpatrick Limited (Subsidiary of Balfour Beatty PLC) on the Manchester Royal Infirmary project, and this relatively small company were represented by none other than the high profile QC, Ronald Thwaites.
I attended the tribunal as a witness and my evidence is available here (again select 'Toggle Full Screen' to view): -
Logic Witness Statement
This document provides a brief overview of my employment history and my first meeting with Mr Kerr in 1997. I'll then publish events (and supporting documentation) chronologically, disclosing the evidence in my possession.
I'd like to make one other important point in this introduction following a number of negative remarks about the people on the Blacklist from some members of the public on the Jeremy Vine show in March.
Please do not judge these people until you fully understand the true facts about how they got to be on this Blacklist.
In one example at the Pfizer project (Main Contractor - Amec & Electrical Contractor - Balfour Kilpatrick) in 1999, the electricians were working in very wet conditions and traces of rat urine had been found in the more flooded areas where workers were being allocated work. The following is an extract from the tribunal judgment of Acheson & Others v Balfour Kilpatrick.
A particular danger at this site was the risk of Weil’s disease. This is a serious water borne infection carried in rat urine. Rats were present on the site and there were indeed warning notices alerting workers to the dangers of this disease. The tribunal found that it was reasonable for the men to be concerned that the increased levels of standing water would increase their risk of exposure to this disease. There were also concerns about the dangers of working with electricity in these wet conditions.
The Tribunal judgment went to Acheson & Others and the following is another extract from the judgment.
The tribunal erred in concluding that the workforce was dismissed pursuant to section 100(1)(c) [Employment Rights Act 1996]. They were, however, entitled to find that the dismissals were unfair under the general law. This, however, gives a remedy only to the AEEU members and any non-unionists, and then only if they have the requisite qualifying period. We reach this conclusion with reluctance because we have considerable sympathy for the difficulties in which these men found themselves. The evidence suggests that whatever may have been the position on earlier occasions, on this occasion they were justified in seeking an improvement in what the appellants, by their subsequent actions, have implicitly accepted were unsatisfactory health and welfare conditions. We find it extremely surprising that they were not informed that the employer was intending to effect improvements which would go some way to meeting their concerns, or that they were not even given an ultimatum as to what the employer intended to do if they failed to return to work. We regret that the operation of the legal rules here, by leaving a significant majority of the workforce without redress, has not met the justice of the case.
There were 69 deaths on UK Construction sites in 2007/2008, a figure reduced by approximately 50% since 2001. This figure has since started to rise again and I can't help but think that there may have been far less deaths without this now proven discrimination against workers raising legitimate concerns about health and safety.
So I would urge anyone who has anything detrimental to say against the people on the Blacklist to study the evidence first, before believing the false fabrication that they are a dangerous group of militants, hell bent on causing trouble wherever they work.
DRAKE & SCULL (Subsidiary of the Emcor Group)
The following is an extract from my Witness Statement for the Employment Tribunal, MJ Anderson (Claimant) and Emcor Infrastructure & Rail Services Limited in 2006.
26. During my employment in 2000 with Drake & Scull, Ms Knight [HR Director] informed me that she had received lists of operatives who were employed at the Balfour Kilpatrick, Pfizer and Royal Opera House projects, from Balfour Kilpatrick’s Labour Manager, Michael Aird. I can’t remember Ms Knight saying that she had provided Balfour Kilpatrick with any information, but it would seem likely in the circumstances that she had reciprocated with the list from the Jubilee Line Extension project.
27. Subsequently, these lists of electricians employed by Balfour Kilpatrick at the ROYAL OPERA HOUSE and PFIZER projects during and prior to 2000, were distributed to myself and the labour managers at Drake & Scull Engineering with a view to preventing some of the electricians from gaining employment on future projects. This information, together with a list of electricians who had been employed on the Jubilee Line Extension project (a Drake and Scull project), was passed to the regional labour managers within Drake & Scull Engineering under cover of a memo from Sheila Knight, dated 8 August 2000. [bundle page …] The memo said that labour managers should “make their own enquiries”, however the process is described in section 29.
28. Royal Opera House, Pfizer and Jubilee Line were three construction projects that are notorious in the construction injury for having suffered from industrial relations problems and industrial action.
29. Ms Knight informed me that should any operative on the lists provided by Mr Aird apply to work for Drake and Scull Engineering via the labour managers or external agencies in the regions, then the labour managers were to contact Mr Aird by telephone who would then inform them if they should refuse the operative employment. The process was all very informal and of course none of it was written down.
30. I did not use the lists myself as I never had cause to because it wasn’t my role and in any case I left Drake and Scull Engineering shortly after on amicable terms.
The memo from Drake & Scull Director, Sheila Knight (that accompanied the lists) can be read via the following link: -
Drake & Scull Emcor Blacklist Memo
I believe Mr Anderson and Emcor/Drake & Scull settled out of court the day before the Tribunal, so my evidence was not used. It was however submitted as evidence in my own Tribunal with Haden Young Limited in 2006 in an attempt to prove the blacklisting and therefore already in the public domain.
HADEN YOUNG LIMITED (Subsidiary of Balfour Beatty PLC)
I joined Haden Young Limited in July 2004 as Regional Production & Resources Manager for the Midlands region.
Within a year, I had conducted an investigation into fraud within the operative bonus scheme, but became concerned when I was asked to withdraw the 'private and confidential' report (that had only been circulated to three senior managers) by the Regional Director, Alex Currie via my manager, David Brindley. Currie and the person implicated in the report had both worked at Haden Young for over twenty five years.
I therefore reported my concern about this under the Whistleblowing procedure to the HR Director, Prue Jackson, but the company tasked another Director and close colleague of Currie, Lawson Elliott (who had also worked for Haden Young for over twenty years) to investigate the matter.
See if you can guess at this point what the outcome of his investigation into the fraud and cover up concluded.... ;-)
On 17 July 2005, I wrote to the Human Resources Director, Prue Jackson, to request a grievance hearing following the way I had been treated (especially by my manager, David Brindley) after making the protected disclosures. This treatment caused me great distress at the time and I was signed off work by my doctor with work related stress. I remained signed off work by my doctor until I resigned the following January, after the concerns I'd raised about the way I had been treated and my concerns about being placed on the Blacklist had been totally dismissed by the Company.
On joining Haden Young, I learned immediately that the department I was to manage already had a manager in Roger Hughes. Roger had been given no indication or notice that I would be taking over his department, which caused him great distress, ultimately resulting in him suffering a breakdown and being off sick with stress for eight months.
So Brindley has two senior managers in the Production Department on long term sick with work related stress.
The following paragraphs are extracts from my evidence at my own tribunal in Birmingham: -
However, on joining Haden Young Limited, I soon learned that the Production Department already had a manager in Roger Hughes, who had forty-one years service. The previous twelve of which had been spent managing the Production Department. I also learned that Mr Hughes had only been informed of my appointment and the fact that he would be reporting to me the previous working day.
Over the following weeks it became apparent that Mr Hughes was very uncomfortable with my presence. Naturally I was asking lots of questions about the functionality of the processes, especially in respect of the ‘operative incentive scheme’. I was also holding a number of meetings with individual members of the team to understand their roles and views on how we could improve the processes. This was a difficult period for me and Mr Hughes, as Mr Brindley had instructed me to refrain from discussing any of the changes I would be proposing with Mr Hughes.
Sometime between August and September, I was also invited by Mr Currie to attend a ‘long serving awards dinner’ he was arranging to take place in November, 2004. I was asked by Mr Currie to make a number of presentations to long serving operatives, as I was now their most senior manager. Mr Currie informed me that he would be making the presentations to those in a staff positions attending. I subsequently learned that this was another snub for Mr Hughes, as he had made the presentations to the operatives over previous years. On learning about his disappointment at not being asked to make these presentations, I did ask Mr Hughes if he would like me to ask Mr Currie if he could attend as my guest, but he declined this offer.
The Production Report – 7 September 2004
On 7 September 2005 I produced my report to Mr Currie and Mr Brindley, the Area Operations Manager for the Midlands, Steve Tovey and the Area Operations for the Southern, Eamonn Dunne. Please refer to the Bundle for this item. Bundle – Item 19 (a).
I had been specifically instructed by Mr Brindley not to provide a copy of the report to Mr Hughes. This further added to Mr Hughes’ frustration at being kept in the dark in respect of the changes I was about to bring to the Production Department.
In the report, I raised serious reservations about the operative incentive scheme. This included concerns that as a region, we were paying out approximately £750,000 a year to hourly paid operatives and foremen in a bonus scheme administrated, controlled and manipulated by the hourly paid foremen at site who had a vested interest in ensuring that bonus targets were achieved as it was their own bonus payment.
Roger Hughes – July to September 2004
Mr Hughes seemingly resented my appointment. On one occasion around August/September 2004, after asking Mr Hughes about an aspect of the business, he smashed over the contents of his desk with his arm and then turned his chair over and stormed out of the department.
I gave him ten minutes or so to calm down, tracked him down and took him through to the meeting room. In this meeting, Mr Hughes confessed that he was having severe difficulty with my introduction to the business. He stressed that this had nothing to with me and that it was the way I was introduced to the business by Mr Brindley and Mr Currie, the notice he was given, the fact that he was being kept in the dark in respect of the changes and matters like the snub from the veterans dinner that were causing him serious distress.
Mr Hughes had a holiday booked in Australia coming up at the time and he informed me that he was hoping the long break would help him deal with what had happened. We resumed our business and Mr Hughes took his holiday in Australia on or around 30 September 2004.
During this time (Mr Hughes’s holiday), Mr Brindley was keen for me to press on with the restructure of the department.
I expressed my concerns about making the changes in Mr Hughes’s absence to Mr Brindley, but he instructed me to press on. I therefore contacted the head office Personnel Director, Prue Jackson for advice on how to handle this difficult matter.
Ms Jackson informed me that I was in no way to make the changes in Mr Hughes’s absence without consulting him about how the changes would affect him. This included changing the roles of Mr Green and Ms Walker who had previously reported to Mr Hughes.
Ms Jackson stressed that Mr Hughes would have an excellent case for Constructive Dismissal if we were to make the changes in his absence. I therefore confronted Mr Brindley with this and he was very displeased with me for contacting Ms Jackson. He informed me that I should not contact Ms Jackson again without first clearing this with him. I therefore held back the restructure until Mr Hughes returned from holiday in October 2004.
Mr Hughes appeared refreshed on his return and informed me that he was confident that a recent health scare had cleared up and that he was keen to understand how the changes would effect him.
I therefore explained some of the proposed changes and the need for clear lines of responsibility. In respect of his own role, I asked Mr Hughes if he would consider taking on the role of the Labour Manager. Mr Hughes did not take this too well. Mr Hughes informed me that he was also aware of Mr Cappell’s desire to move away from the role and had considered Mr Green as his choice to succeed Mr Cappell. Mr Hughes informed me that he would need time to think about this and let me know. We concluded the meeting and Mr Hughes took a visit out to a site the next day.
I learned a few days later that Mr Hughes had taken sick leave. I further learned that Mr Tovey that he had visited Mr Hughes at home and that Mr Hughes had suffered a nervous breakdown. I remember Mr Tovey telling me that “He (Mr Hughes) was a broken man”.
Mr Brindley instructed me to press on with the revised changes and we made substantial improvements to the processes. Much to his discontent, Mr Cappell had to remain in the role of the Labour Manager until Mr Hughes was able to return.
Mr Brindley was still adamant to me during this period that Mr Hughes would eventually take over the position of the Labour Manager and was keen to paint a picture to me that Mr Hughes’s breakdown was due to his recent health scare and had nothing to do with the way he had been treated.
Mr Hughes did not return from this long period of sickness until May 2005 and then only in a part time capacity.
Those within Haden Young charged with investigating my disclosures and the subsequent grievances raised, all had between fifteen and forty years service working together with the company at the time, with Beck, Currie and Elliott all originating from the Glasgow office: -
Prue Jackson - Haden Young Personnel Director - 20 years
Lawson Elliott - Haden Young Director - 25 years
Peter Barnes - Haden Young Director - 15 years
David Beck - Haden Young Managing Director (1978 - 2008) - 40 years
Alex Currie - Haden Young Managing Director (since 2008) - 25 years
I'm happy to revise these periods should they be slightly inaccurate.
My fears and concerns about being blacklisted were also communicated (in a letter to Haden Young Managing Director, David Beck dated 9 January 2005) to the Balfour Beatty PLC HR Director, Paul Raby, who just ignored this.
The letter can be viewed here (again, 'Toggle Full Screen' to view): -
Haden Young David Beck & Paul Raby Letter
Publish at Scribd or explore others: School Work Magazines & Newspape Books Non-fiction children bible
This matter eventually went to Tribunal in November 2006 and the Tribunal judgment went to Haden Young. Everything detailed in my witness statement was the absolute truth about how I was treated at Haden Young after making the protected disclosures and I may publish this separately in due course.
There are a few important facts to consider about this tribunal judgement.
Firstly, the burden was on me to prove the allegations. This was impossible for a person in my position.
Prior to the Tribunal, I had not received an income for over twelve months due to the period of sickness relating to the way I was treated and my inability to subsequently gain employment after making over 150 applications for work.
Barristers and solicitors cost £250 an hour each and I had to prepare for my two week tribunal on limited financial resources.
I'm certain I would have been able to present a more concrete case if I'd had access to the unlimited financial resources and legal advice that Haden Young enjoyed.
One other important point about my Tribunal is that Haden Young offered me a £20,000 settlement a day or so before the Tribunal. My legal advisor at the time advised me that I was obligated to accept the settlement, as should I refuse and then lose the Tribunal, I would then be liable for the legal costs of Haden Young, which considering the legal team they engaged could have been substantial. The settlement however included a strict gagging clause and was therefore rejected.
The £20,000 refused was probably the maximum I could have been awarded by the Tribunal at the time. However, my main concern throughout this was that Haden Young Limited would blacklist me for raising these matters, thus restricting my ability to find future employment. I had no other alternative than to go to Tribunal in the hope that I could prove the blacklisting.
I'd therefore refused £20,000 and had to borrow an additional £20,000 to pay my legal fees for the tribunal itself.
Raising my concerns about being blacklisted
I'd raised serious concerns about being blacklisted by Haden Young on numerous occasions, the first being in a letter to Prue Jackson to request a Grievance meeting. The following is an extract from that letter dated 17 July 2005.
As you're aware, the company operates a blacklisting procedure for new recruits and hired temporary agency workers to check for any previous history of union militancy, troublemaking, etc. The Labour Manager Neil Cappell first made me aware of this when we started recruiting in January this year. This was also confirmed when you personally telephoned me to reject the operative Michael Shakespeare from a list of names submitted to your department by Neil on 3 February 2005 for the Coventry Arena project.
In addition to this, I had been tasked by David Brindley to find a potential replacement for Neil Cappell. Dave had promised Neil a move onto pastures new and we were unaware when Roger Hughes would be returning to the business to fulfill this role. I interviewed a number of candidates for this, one being Keith Morgan who is now the Construction Manager at Addenbrooks.
I also interviewed another candidate, Neil Shah, who had previous experience in Labour Management at the How Group. Neil did not come over very well in the interview and had no recent experience of managing large numbers of operatives. I informed Dave of this and was subsequently informed by him that he had conducted his own checks into Neil Shah and that he was a known troublemaker.
Considering the above, I'm very concerned that I may become a victim of this blacklisting procedure.
Prue Jackson responds to my letter on 22 July 2005 and makes no reference to my concern about being blacklisted.
I therefore respond in writing on 29 July 2005 and the following is an extract from that letter.
I also feel that you may not have appreciated the significance of some of the information I have in relation to my concerns about being blacklisted in the future by Haden Young and Balfour Beatty.
Notwithstanding the information relating to the checks made by Haden Young, I have conclusive proof that another Balfour Beatty subsidiary, Balfour Kilpatrick, passed on/circulated lists of names and national insurance numbers of electricians involved in industrial/strike action at the Royal Opera House and Pfizer projects to other major contractors.
It was my genuine belief at the time that the information was being circulated as part of a process to prevent some or all of these electricians from gaining future employent with those in receipt of the information.
The information is not limited to these two projects and extends to another major high profile project where I believe Balfour Beatty were the main contractor.
Prue Jackson responds to my letter on 3 August 2005 and the following is an extract from that letter.
In your letter, you raise specific issues regarding grievance 10, as reference in your letter dated 17 July 2005. I understand that you have concerns that 'the Company may restrict my future employment prospects by blacklisting me and labeling me as a troublemaker'.
You have my assurance on behalf of the Company that this would not be the case. If you were to leave our employment, the Company would provide a fair and honest reference to any prospective employer. The Company has no reason and no policy to do otherwise.
I therefore respond again in writing and the following is an extract from that letter.
Please note that I have to look at what you say in relation to item 10 in the context of previous discussions with a degree of scepticism.
Prue Jackson responds to my letter on 12 August 2005 and the following is an extract from that letter.
I'm sorry you feel sceptical about my statement concerning any future reference, but I assure you once again that the Company would give you a fair and honest reference in accordance with our normal policy if you were to leave the Company.
Jackson continually denied any involvement in blacklisting in the full knowledge that she had discussed Kerr with me and the fact that there was sufficient evidence to prove that Haden Young operated a blacklisting procedure.
My Grievance Hearing (Haden Young Limited) - 25 August 2005
Haden Young Director, Peter Barnes held my Grievance Hearing on 25 August 2005 and I was accompanied by Regional Amicus Official, Micky Tuff.
In the meeting, I provided evidence of the blacklisting procedures within Haden Young to Peter Barnes in the form of faxed lists of operatives from the labour manager, Neil Cappell to Prue Jacksons' office in Watford. Copies of these were distributed to Mr Tuff in the meeting.
An example of one of the many faxes can be viewed here (Please note that the hand written date of 04 is an error and should read 05. I've also scratched out the national insurance numbers to protect the identity of those on the lists): -
Haden Young Blacklist Checks
Publish at Scribd or explore others: School Work Essays & Theses Study Guides, Notes, children people
I had previously informed Prue Jackson that I would be accompanied by a trade union official and that as such, the evidence of blacklisting would therefore fall into the possession of the trade union official.
Prue Jackson responds in her letter to me of 22 July 2005
'You may of course be accompanied, and I understand you wish to bring a trade union official. This is acceptable to the Company, but I would ask you to supply his name prior to the hearing'.
I was amazed at the time that the company were not concerned that evidence that proved the company operated a blacklisting procedure was about to fall into the hands of a senior trade union official.
I believe it was this exact evidence that some years later enabled the Information Commissioners Office to track down Kerr and close down his operation after a visit to Haden Young offices in Watford.
The Relationship between Haden Young and the Amicus union
For the information of the reader, the union subscriptions for all electrical operatives employed by Haden Young Limited and other similar companies at the time were paid for by the employer under a benefits scheme. This was a longstanding arrangement between the employers and the union, which I'm led to believe was still in existence until last year.
I'm not aware of the exact contributions figure paid by the employers to the union, but believe it to be in the region of £1 million a year.
Following the meeting, Mr Tuff (from Amicus) was presented with the additional backlisting information i.e. the memorandum from Drake & Sculls' Sheila Knight to the Labour Managers and the lists of operatives involved in industrial disputes exchanged between Balfour Beatty PLC's subsidiary Balfour Kilpatrick and Emcor's Drake & Scull for the Pfizer, Royal Opera House and Jubilee Line Extension projects.
These were the lists that accompanied the Sheila Knight memo from Drake & Scull to the labour managers.
Amicus have been in possession of all the blacklisting information at my disposal since August 2005.
Peter Barnes' response to my grievances
Mr Barnes wrote to me dismissing all my grievances on 12 October 2005, some twelve weeks after they were initially raised. Knowing I was off sick with no income at this time, it took Barnes twelve weeks to investigate and respond to my grievances. I believe this only entailed one visit to the Tamworth office and one visit to the Coventry Arena project.
The following is the extract that relates to my concerns about being blacklisted.
10. Fear that AW would be blacklisted with adverse affects on future employment prospects.
AW said this grievance was about how he might be treated in the future. PB said he was aware the matter had been raised with Prue Jackson, Personnel Director who had written to AW assuring him there was no policy of blacklisting, he would not be blacklisted and would be fairly dealt with in regard to references. PB said whilst AW remained in the Company's employment, as he presently did, no suggestion of unfair or improper treatment could arise in this regard and he could not consider a grievance in regard to a future eventuality.
I therefore responded to the Company via Prue Jackson in writing on 20 October 2005, and the following is the extract from the document attached to the letter that relates to the blacklisting.
This is a primary example of where Peter has almost ignored of given little consideration to key information.
I had provided written conclusive proof that the company operates a blacklisting procedure for known trouble causers. This included written proof in the form of a copy of correspondence from the Labour Manager, Neil Cappell to Prue Jackson.
I had also informed Peter that Neil had explained the blacklisting procedure to me as there would be times when he would be absent from the office when this needed to be conducted.
I also explained to Peter that Prue Jackson had specifically contacted me in Neils' absence to confirm that one of the operatives forwarded by Neil for consideration had been rejected for what she described as concerns about his past involvement in trade union activities and should not be allowed to go to the site at Coventry Arena.
I also informed Peter of an instance whereby Dave Brindley had informed me that he had conducted checks into a potential replacement for Neil Cappell, a Mr Neil Shah and that his checks had revealed that Mr Shah was a known troublemaker.
I had also informed Peter that I had recently recovered from archived files at home, extensive evidence that proved that a blacklisting procedure exists in another Balfour Beatty subsidiary, Balfour Kilpatrick as per my previous correspondence to Prue Jackson.
Considering the facts listed above (omitted from Peters report) and the conclusive written evidence that the company (and potentially the parent company Balfour Beatty) operate a blacklisting procedure and may blacklist me in future for all the allegations I have made, Peter has again acted unfairly in refusing to consider this grievance at all.
A second and final grievance hearing was set for 16 November 2005, some 16 weeks after I had raised the initial request for a hearing with Prue Jackson in July 2005. The meeting was held with Managing Director, David Beck and Mick Tuff was again present from the Amicus union (now Unite). The company had placed an embargo of what could raised at the hearing, so the meeting was very brief.
My grievances were again dismissed and the following is an extract from my letter to David Beck dated 9 January 2006, also copied to Paul Raby, HR Director for Balfour Beatty PLC, (who I'd also made my protected disclosures to some six months prior in a meeting with Company Secretary Chris Pearson at Balfour Beatty PLC head office in London). Micky Tuff from Amicus (now Unite) was also copied the correspondence.
You have also totally disregarded my serious concerns about the Companys' procedure for blacklisting operatives and staff. This after I had provided conclusive proof to Peter that this takes place within the business.
I also pointed out to Peter in the Stage 2 meeting on 25 August 2005 that I was in possession of correspondence that proved that the blacklisting policy was not confined to Haden Young and took place in another Balfour Beatty subsidiary, Balfour Kilpatrick. This included the names of electrical operatives that were blacklisted because of their involvement in industrial action on high profile projects such as the Royal opera House, Pfizer and the Jubilee Line Extension.
My Resignation - January 2006
By this point, and knowing I was signed off sick with no income, Haden Young had taken approximately six months from the point of me first raising my grievances to totally dismissing these. I was left with no other option than to resign.
As I had not worked for seven months, I set about looking for work. Over the following six months I made over 150 applications for work, all of which were unsuccessful. It was clear to me that I was being blacklisted, which the ICO have now confirmed.
This confirmed again that I had no other option than to try to prove the blacklisting at a tribunal.
AMICUS - January to July 2006
Mr Tuff from the union Amicus had become very evasive during this time and had been in possession of all the blacklisting information since August 2005.
I therefore wrote to the Amicus General Secretary, Derek Simpson on the 19 June, 5th and 6th July 2006 and have detailed the contents of each letter below.
Letter to Derek Simpson - 19 June 2006
Private & Confidential
Dear Mr Simpson
Re – A Wainwright v Haden Young Limited
I’m writing to ask for your help.
You may or may not be aware that I am currently taking my employer, Haden Young Limited to a tribunal for constructive dismissal following the way I was treated after making protected disclosures about fraud and an attempted cover up in the business.
I left the business in January 2006, prior to which the company took five months to arrange, hear and respond to two grievance meetings.
During this grievance process, Area official Mick Tuff agreed to accompany me to my grievance hearings and invited me to rejoin the union. I had previously been a member of the EET&PU and AEEU for a considerable period. I completed the necessary forms he gave me and became a member again in August 2005.
During the first grievance meeting on 25 August 2005, I made a further protected disclosure to Peter Barnes (Haden Young’s Disclosure Officer), in that the company operated a blacklisting procedure.
I informed Mr Barnes of the background of how the process works within the Haden Young business and provided lists of names, national insurance numbers, etc. of operatives that had been processed through this system by the Labour Manager, Mr Cappell.
I also informed Mr Barnes that I was concerned that this practice was group wide, as I had recently recovered lists of operatives from another Balfour Beatty PLC subsidiary, Balfour Kilpatrick, that had been passed to Sheila Knight at Drake & Scull Engineering in 2000 by the Balfour Kilpatrick labour manager, Michael Aird.
The lists were names and national insurance numbers of Balfour Kilpatrick employees who had been employed at The Royal Opera House and Pfizer projects and were passed on to ensure some of the employees on the list were prevented from gaining employment on future Drake & Scull Engineering projects.
Following the meeting, I agreed to pass on this information to Mr Tuff. Mr Tuff informed me that he would conduct a thorough investigation into this, using the systems/information available to him via the union and JIB.
I must confess to asking Mr Tuff to withhold from going public on any information until such a time, as I had completed the grievance process with Haden Young.
I heard nothing from Mr Tuff as the months progressed and did contact him on many occasions to see how matters were progressing. Mr Tuff was evasive and generally fobbed me off, stating he was too busy.
However, Mr Tuff did inform me prior to the Christmas break that he would be writing to head office to ask them to consider supporting me at a tribunal.
I contacted Mr Tuff on 10 January 2006 to inform him that I had resigned from Haden Young and to ask for the union’s assistance in taking my previous employer to a tribunal.
I did not receive a response from Mr Tuff, but his secretary did inform me that she had drafted a request for some kind of case assessment for me on Mr Tuff’s behalf and forwarded this to head office.
Mr Tuff was evasive in our telephone conversations about the blacklisting and the union’s decision to support me at a tribunal over the following weeks and generally fobbed me off, stating that he and those responsible for making the decisions were very busy.
During this period, I had written to Mr Tuff on three separate occasions on 10 January 2006, 19 January 2006 and 6 February 2006 (enclosed), asking Mr Tuff if he had received a response from the union head office about the decision to support me at a tribunal. In the latter, I stressed that I was concerned about the time limitations of making such a claim. (Please note that the January correspondence is dated 2005 and not 2006. A natural mistake sometimes made just after new year).
As the weeks progressed, I contacted Mr Tuff again by telephone. I was concerned that the three months required to bring such a claim was expiring fast. Mr Tuff informed me that he had still not received a response from the union head office and appeared reluctant to chase this up.
In late February 2006 I informed Mr Tuff that I could not wait any longer for a response from the union, as there were time limitations in respect of making such a claim (3 months) and I was concerned that this was about to expire.
I therefore informed Mr Tuff that in the absence of a decision from the union, that I had no other option than to press on and seek private legal advice in respect of taking Haden Young Limited to a tribunal.
I contacted Mr Tuff again on 21 March 2001 and pressed Mr Tuff on the progress being made in respect of the blacklisting information and the union’s decision to support me at a tribunal.
Mr Tuff informed me that the union had been holding back on the blacklisting information until my grievance had been resolved. I therefore informed Mr Tuff that the grievance procedure ended last December/January and that it was now 21 March 2006.
I also informed Mr Tuff that I was concerned that the union had been in possession of this information for seven months at this point and appeared to have done nothing about this and had not even had the courtesy to update me on the progress being made.
I also stressed to Mr Tuff that the union must have approximately two thousand members with the company that had circulated these lists, Balfour Kilpatrick and that I was amazed that the union were doing nothing about this.
Mr Tuff responded with an abrupt “No Comment” and informed me that the information and my case had now been passed on to another union official.
To date, I have received no response from the union in respect of the blacklisting information or my written requests to Mr Tuff of 10 January 2006, 19 January 2006 and 6 February 2006.
I cannot believe after over nine months now of being in possession of the blacklisting information, that this union is not asking Balfour Kilpatrick why the lists of names were forwarded by Michael Aird to Sheila Knight at Drake & Scull and then why those lists were circulated by Sheila Knight to the Drake & Scull labour managers and myself.
I cannot believe that this union is not asking Haden Young why lists of operatives proposed by agencies are processed via a blacklisting procedure, a blacklisting procedure that I personally built a database to process the information during my employment at Haden Young, of which the union have been in possession of such faxed reports for this same time.
Most of all, I cannot believe that I have not received any response to my correspondence of 10 January 2006, 19 January 2006 and 6 February 2006 by the union in respect of any help I could receive in taking my former employer Haden Young Limited to a tribunal for constructive dismissal.
I have now been a member of the Amicus union for over ten months and had previously been a member of the EET&PU and AEEU for at least ten years in the past.
I was a member of Amicus when I was forced to resign in January 2006 and cannot believe the union is just sitting back and watching my case progress.
I have incurred significant legal costs to date and now have a tribunal date for 14 November 2006 in Birmingham.
I’m aware that you are supporting another member, Michael Anderson in his case against Emcor and have called me as a witness to the tribunal this week.
I have been helping Alison Humphrey with this over the last few weeks and was amazed that she had not been made aware of the information provided to Mr Tuff last August.
I would therefore ask you to consider helping me with my tribunal in light of the total lack of response from your regional representatives to date.
cc Mick Tuff
Letter to Derek Simpson - 5 July 2006
5 July 2006
Private & Confidential
Dear Mr Simpson
Re – A Wainwright v Haden Young Limited
Thank you for your letter dated 4 July 2006 and more so for responding personally.
I’ve digested your response and feel you may not be in possession of all of the facts. More so, you have avoided responding to some of the key points raised in my letter about the blacklisting, namely: -
* What is the union doing with the evidence provided to Mr Tuff over ten months ago (six months after Mr Tuff was well aware that my employment with Haden Young had ended), that proves conclusively that Haden Young, Balfour Kilpatrick and Drake & Scull are involved in exchanging information and blacklisting certain operatives?
* Why has the union not asked Haden Young, Balfour Kilpatrick and Drake & Scull (three companies who pay Amicus the weekly union subscriptions for approximately three thousand of their employees) for an explanation of the blacklisting information that has been in the union’s possession for all this time?
In addition to this, further evidence has come to light to support the information provided which has been published on my website www.blacklistedelectricians.blogspot.com
Please do not respond saying that this information was not available to anyone at the union, as Mr Tuff was informed of this in our conversation on 21 March 2006 and Alison Humphrey in our conversations over the last few months.
Working systematically through your letter I respond as follows.
Firstly, I was only aware of the 26 week period when Alison Humphrey mentioned this last week. Why therefore did Mr Tuff encourage me to join the union and attend my grievance hearings in August and November 2005, if as you say he had already informed me that the union would not be able to help me?
You say that the “NEC has a discretion to extend legal assistance to a member who is not otherwise entitled to benefits”, but do not consider that this is an appropriate case.
As part of my claim against Haden Young Limited, I am demonstrating that that three major companies who employ approximately 3,000 of your members are operating blacklisting procedures and you do not think this is an appropriate case to support?
I have provided the union with conclusive proof in the form of faxes, memo’s, lists, a website, a thirteen page witness statement for the Michael Anderson v Emcor case and you do not think this is an appropriate case to support?
I put it to you that you appear more reluctant to challenge or even question the companies involved in this abhorrent act as the mechanical and electrical sector members alone fund the union to the tune of approximately £1 million a year in subscriptions for their employees.
On your response to the conduct of Mr Tuff I would ask you consider why I would ask the union for help with my tribunal if Mr Tuff had already informed me that I would not be entitled to this?
It was Mr Tuff who informed me in December 2005 that he was making a request for the union to support me and this was confirmed by his secretary in January 2006.
I would ask you why Mr Tuff failed to respond to three separate letters from me in January and February 2006 and I do not accept your response that Mr Tuff “assumed there was no change to the position” as he had received no response from the legal department?
Is that how things work at Amicus?
Are you not concerned that Mr Tuff did not receive a response? Are you not concerned that Mr Tuff did not chase this up? Are you not concerned that Mr Tuff ignored three separate letters from me and rarely returned telephone calls until I was able to track him down on 21 March 2006?
On your comments that Mr Tuff “did indeed to begin to make preliminary investigations into the allegations”, I would ask what exactly has Mr Tuff achieved in the ten months the information has been in his possession? In my conversations with him he assured me that he would conduct a thorough investigation into the names on the Balfour Kilpatrick and Drake & Scull lists and Haden Young faxes to establish which of the hundreds of workers on the lists had not worked for JIB companies since the information was exchanged.
Why was he relieved of his involvement in this matter and the information passed on another officer as Mr Tuff informed me in our telephone conversation of 21 March 2006?
I have to object most of all to your final paragraph where you suggest that there has been some confusion in this regard and that Mr Tuff states that I had indicated that he should keep this information confidential until my tribunal.
This was never the case and you have either clearly been misinformed or are making the statement to protect the union from any adverse publicity for not taking any action on the matter in the ten months a senior officer has been in possession of the facts.
As previously mentioned, I had made numerous attempts to contact Mr Tuff during the period to see what action the union were taking in respect of the information in his possession and he generally just fobbed me off. At no point did any of our conversations refer to Mr Tuff keeping the information confidential until after my tribunal.
Notwithstanding the above, I would now ask what action you are going to take from hereon in respect of the information in the union’s possession and the growing evidence published on my website, of which there is more to come?
It would appear that the union has failed to even attempt to fully investigate the facts and are trying to avoid confronting those companies responsible for operating these blacklisting procedures to avoid ‘biting the hand that feeds’.
I do hope my suspicions are wrong and that you now take firm action and steps to ensure this matter is fully investigated and dealt with in the best interests of those who are being wrongly discriminated against.
I do also hope that you will reconsider your discretion to extend legal assistance to me in my plight to ensure this abhorrent practice is abolished as part of my claim against Haden Young Limited.
Letter to Derek Simpson - 6 July 2006
Dear Mr Simpson
Re – A Wainwright v Haden Young Limited
I write further to my letter dated 5 July 2006, as I feel compelled to clarify a number of further points.
These relate to the final paragraph of your letter dated 4 July 2006 where you state the following: -
“It would appear, however, that there has been some confusion in this regard as our officer had assumed, given that following your grievance hearing you indicated that you were progressing your claim to a tribunal hearing, that he should keep your information confidential”.
I would point out to you that Mr Tuff was present at the grievance meeting on 25 August 2005 with Peter Barnes of Haden Young and it was in this grievance meeting that I made the protected disclosures about the blacklisting procedures within Haden Young, another Balfour Beatty plc subsidiary, Balfour Kilpatrick and Drake & Scull.
It was also in this meeting where Mr Tuff was provided with fax copies of operatives processed (by the then labour manager of Haden Young, Neil Cappell) through the Haden Young blacklisting procedure.
Prior to this, I had also informed Mr Tuff in my letter to him dated 10 August 2005 (copy enclosed), that I had informed Haden Young’s Personnel Director, Prue Jackson in my letter of 29 July 2005 to her that I would be disclosing the blacklisting information at the grievance meeting on 25 August 2005 and that Mr Tuff would be able to make use of this information beyond that point.
I was surprised at the time that Haden Young were allowing Mr Tuff to accompany me to this meeting, considering the disclosures I was about to make in his presence about the blacklisting.
It is therefore ludicrous to suggest that I would have asked Mr Tuff to keep the blacklisting information he gained in the grievance meeting of 25 August 2005 confidential, as he had gained that information in the meeting itself and in the presence of Haden Young’s Disclosure Officer, Peter Barnes.
It was only the copies of the actual lists of operatives from the Balfour Kilpatrick, Pfizer and Royal Opera House projects and the Drake & Scull, JLE project that were passed to Mr Tuff after the meeting that Mr Tuff was asked to withhold from going public on until I had completed the grievance process with Haden Young. Mr Tuff was well aware that this process ended six months ago when I resigned in January.
Furthermore, I did not indicate to Mr Tuff that I was progressing my claim to a tribunal hearing in August 2005 or during the entire grievance process and take great offense that he could suggest this.
Throughout this ordeal I have given Haden Young every opportunity to fully investigate my grievances and resigned in January 2006, after which it took them over five months to arrange, hold and respond to two grievance meetings.
I therefore put it to you again that Mr Tuff and the union have now been in possession of the blacklisting information for over ten months and appear to have done nothing about this.
This lists have also been widely publicised in the construction press since my website was launched on 21 March 2006 and the union appear again to have done nothing to investigate the matter or press the relevant organisations for an explanation.
I must also point out that members of the press constantly approach me to divulge information about the blacklisting. This has recently included a very credible journalist who appears knowledgeable and passionate about this subject.
I respond to each stating that I will not be making any statement outside of those published on my website until after my tribunal in November 2006.
I therefore do hope that you will now take this opportunity to take a more proactive approach to establishing the true facts from your staff and more importantly, take action to ensure the matter is fully investigated and eradicated from the industry for good.
CARILLION PLC 2006 - 2007
As previously mentioned, I made over 150 job applications after leaving Haden Young Limited in January 2006 and was pleasantly surprised to receive an invitation to attend an interview with Accenture at Carillions' office in Wolverhampton around August 2006.
An interim agency had picked up on my previous seven years service at Carillion from an Internet job website and I attended the interview. Carillion had outsourced a large proportion of their HR to Accenture, who agreed to hire me the day I was interviewed on an initial four month contract, with a view to a permanent position after that time. They informed me they were desperate for people with my experience and that Carillion had won a large 2 - 3 year project about five miles from my home in North Wales, which would have been ideal for both myself and the Company.
I was engaged as a HR Business Partner, responsible for Carillion Training and Carillion Building. I was keen to make a good impression as I'd not worked for such a long time and believe my work was more than acceptable.
However, after about two months I bumped into an ex colleague Liz Keates. Liz had taken over the blacklisting procedures from my department at Carillion when I left in 2000. Within a day or so I was asked to pack up my things from our work area and sit at an isolated desk alone in an unused area on the same floor. I was working away from the office the following day and on returning home, received a telephone call from the Interim Agency stating that I was not required back at work any longer with immediate effect.
The reason they gave was that they had too many HR Business Partners, which was a total contradiction from my experience working with the company. Many HR Business Partners were working a 60 hour week to keep up with the demand and there were always new people starting each week in my short time there.
Conscious that I had been removed because I was at the time trying to expose the blacklisting, I looked in the vacancy section on the Carillion website. On this, they were advertising at least five HR Business Partner positions and continued to do so for a number of months after that. I therefore duly applied online for each position.
I received this letter On 25 January 2007 from Humaira Anwer of Carillion PLC informing me that my application had been unsuccessful.
Carillion Rejection Letter
Publish at Scribd or explore others: Magazines & Newspape How-to-Guides & Manu Non-fiction economy stocks
I've since spoken to Neil Smith (the General Manager of Carillion Training at the time of my employment), who informed me that he had no problems at all with my work.
This begs the question, why would a company remove a HR Business Partner doing a perfectly adequate job, continue to pay my wages for the contracted period, and then engage an additional HR Business Partner at an additional cost to the business to carry out the same work?
There you go. That didn't take too much to work out, did it?
One of the many work applications I'd made in 2006 and 2007 was addressed to Murray Reid at NG Bailey on 6 June 2006. The covering letter can be viewed here: -
A Wainwright NG Bailey Application
This application to Reid was ignored and I didn't even receive a reply.
I've since spoken to electrician, Steve Acheson (who is the person who has most probably suffered the greatest detriment in all of this) and he informs me that some of the comments from NG Bailey on his Blacklist file (provided by the ICO) have a main contact listed as MR
Let's see if we can work out who that may be.
Sometime in early 2007 I met Bernard Carter and a colleague from the DTI at a hotel in Chester. Mr Carter was very understanding and thorough in his questioning and I presented him with everything I had at my disposal about the blacklisting. I'm unsure as to what further investigations he made into this.
I've been amazed by some of the people trying to jump on the bandwagon since this first came out in the media on 6 March 2009.
This includes Alan Ritchie of UCATT, on television the day this story broke.
Where were you from 2006 - 2009? My disclosures were widely known in the Construction Industry but you did nothing! - Now I hear you're having some leaflets printed?
A point too about the companies who now say "They do not condone blacklisting".
Some of the companies involved probably do not condone blacklisting.
IT'S SOME OF THE PEOPLE WHO WORK FOR YOU THAT DO....!
Many people may try to take credit for exposing this abhorrent practice, but the true heroes are David Clancy at the ICO, Rob Evans and Phil Chamberlain at the Guardian, electricians, Steve Acheson, Tony Jones, Graham Bowker, and the many other workers who campaigned (and are still campaigning) to eradicate this.
I'd also like to thank David Hanson MP and Michael Clapham MP for raising this in Parliament, Alison Graham Wells for proof reading the blog, my barrister, Benjimin Burgher, for battling at my tribunal against a chairman who in my opinion appeared to have already made his mind up on day one, and most of all, my close friends and family for all their support throughout this ordeal.
Let's hope the Government now take firm steps to ensure this abhorrent practice is eradicated for good and also ensure adequate compensation is gained for all who have suffered a detriment at the hands of the member companies involved.