Wednesday, 20 March 2013

RUINED LIVES?

I've become increasingly concerned about the motives of some of the blacklisted workers recently as they talk of their so called "ruined lives". 

Steve Acheson, who has protested outside the Fiddlers Ferry power station for the last few years talks of severe hardship, and Dave Smith's "my children were on milk tokens" statement appears in many press articles.

The current investigation by the Scottish Affairs Committee is what I would call 'the start of the end of the Blacklisting'. There's a long way to go, but this investigation hopefully appears to be the start of the end of this scandal.

This Saturday sees the AGM of the Blacklist Support Group (whoever they are) in London, with Unite leader Len McCloskey as the main speaker. 

I'm intrigued as to how such "ruined lives", knowing full well that this union was in full possession of my blacklisting evidence as far back as 2005 and did nothing with this, thus prolonging their so called suffering by some six years or more, could associate themselves and mix with the people who have simply sat on this information all this time.

The BBC succinctly summed up the most probable reason for the union's inaction in their recent Radio 4 program, "The Report'.

BBC RADIO 4 - THE REPORT

I therefore asked Dave Smith if I could speak at this event and was told I could not. 

How bizarre that the whistleblower and single source of all the evidence used to locate and close down the Consulting Association would not be asked or welcome to speak at such an event. 

Notwithstanding my efforts to expose the Blacklisting from 2005 to 2009, I have also worked tirelessly to provide the Scottish Affairs Committee with ongoing evidence throughout the last six months, some of which is evident on this website.

I've always been concerned when something doesn't add up. I suppose it's in my nature and something just doesn't add up here. 

Why would Dave Smith, Steve Acheson and the like, the latter who has told me and others on many occasions that he has substantial evidence of trade union collusion in the Blacklisting, proactively mix with a trade union that could have started the end of their so called struggle six or seven years ago? It is quite bizarre...

Sean Curran from Guney Clark Ryan is also speaking at this event. For their High Court claim to be successful, they will have to demonstrate the financial losses to support these so called "ruined lives". Blacklisted workers will also have to demonstrate that they too attempted to mitigate their loss.

I started my career as an electrician. My brother and ex brother in law are electricians and many of my friends are construction tradesmen. I progressed from my role as an electrician to the National Labour Manager of one of the major construction companies, so I know the job and I know the industry.

Electrical work falls into three categories. Domestic, commercial and industrial. Domestic work covers residential premises like our homes. Commercial work covers premises likes schools and offices and Industrial work relates to the large scale projects such as football stadiums and power stations. 

Most of the companies implicated in this scandal carry out large scale industrial projects, but the work type is generally consistent across all three categories. All these installation types need general lighting, power and heating. It is probably only the size of the incoming services that varies, as a room is a room with lighting, power sockets and heating.

I mention this as most qualified electricians, plumbers, etc are capable of working in all three categories. They are most certainly all capable of working on domestic and commercial installations, so it's not as if they can only work in one or two of the categories.

This is important when evaluating if a blacklisted worker attempted to mitigate their loss. They cannot say "I'm an industrial electrician, plumber or joiner and therefore can only work on industrial projects". This is simply not true.

Now I'm on record as saying that in my view, none of the blacklisted workers would have got work for the member companies of the Consulting Association and I stand by that. 

Growing gaps on their CV's would also have deterred other employers outside this circle. 1995 to 2009 were boom years for construction tradesmen, so large unexplained gaps on a CV would have concerned a prospective employer.

But there is something many of these workers could have done to mitigate their loss. As previously mentioned, my brother and my ex brother in law are both electricians and have both made a successful living working self employed during this period. They have also both employed and put their sons through apprenticeships. 

I also have many other construction tradesmen friends who have made a successful living working self employed. By this I do not mean renting offices, taking on staff etc. They just work in the domestic and commercial fields, installing work on a fixed price or for an agreed fixed hourly rate in their local area. They all appear to have had no trouble finding work.

I only recently learned that the Consulting Association held a file on a friends father who was a local electrician. He's retired now, but he too appears to have made a good living from being a self employed electrician.

I can therefore see no reason why many of the Blacklisted workers could not have done the same.  I've heard it suggested that some only worked on industrial projects so they could not work on commercial or domestic work. This is rubbish. 

The core skills of an electrician, plumber, joiner, bricklayer, etc are all applicable to domestic and commercial installations. Industrial pipe-fitters are an exception, as they install the large pipework that feeds the plumbing and heating supplies. You would not have this in a domestic installation.

So as I say. Something does not quite appear to be adding up with Mr Acheson, Mr Smith and their "ruined lives".

This begs the question "Who are the Blacklist Support Group?" 

A bona fide group of people trying to establish the truth, or a collection of ex Militants welcomed back into the fold in a bid to buy their silence on the complicity of a major trade union in all this?

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

BALFOUR BEATTY AND THE BLACKLISTING

Next Tuesday will see representatives from Balfour Beatty Plc give evidence to the Select Committee. 

The following post details a comprehensive and accurate account of the involvement of the senior managers and Directors of Balfour Beatty and their subsidiaries Haden Young and Balfour Kilpatrick (now Balfour Beatty Engineering Services) in the Blacklisting.

It's quite an easy read and should take no more than 15 - 20 minutes to digest everything. The links to documents are in capitals and I've highlighted the key areas of information within these documents in green.

All this information has been in the public domain since my Tribunal in November 2006.

It does read chronologically, but I will start with my recent letter to the Non-Executive Directors of Balfour Beatty Plc, on 28 February 2013, highlighting the role of Paul Raby in all this.

LETTER TO BALFOUR BEATTY PLC NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS

My resignation letter to the then Managing Director of Balfour Beatty subsidiary, Haden Young Limited (now Balfour Beatty Engineering Services Limited), David Beck dated 9 January 2006 was enclosed with this.

LETTER TO DAVID BECK & PAUL RABY - 9 JANUARY 2006

This letter was copied to Balfour Beatty's current and then HR Director at the time, Paul Raby (who we have only recently learned from evidence supplied by Ian Kerr to the Select Committee was one of the Consulting Associations' main contacts) and Micky Tuff from the trade union Amicus/Unite, who I mistakenly believed was trying to help me at the time.

I had previously met Paul Raby and the Balfour Beatty Plc Company Secretary, Chris Pearson some seven months earlier to raise my concerns about how I was being treated by Haden Young senior management and Directors after making a disclosure about financial impropriety in the business.

They did nothing to help me and I was subsequently signed off sick by my doctor with work related stress until I resigned the following January.

The Facts - Chronologically

In August 2000, Sheila Knight, HR Director at Drake & Scull/Emcor Plc distributed this memo and a list of approximately five hundred tradesmen from three major projects that had suffered industrial unrest.

SHEILA KNIGHT MEMO

The projects were:

The Jubilee Line Extension - Drake & Scull/Emcor Plc

Pfizer - Bafour Kilpatrick Limited (now Balfour Beatty Engineering Services)

Royal Opera House - Balfour Kilpatrick Limited (now Balfour Beatty Engineering Services)

Sheila confirmed the source of the information from within the Balfour Beatty group as Michael Aird (from Balfour Beatty subsidiary, Balfour Kilpatrick Limited) in a telephone conversation with me on 20 March 2009. 

A contemporaneous note was taken of this conversation (item 2p in the following link) and it should be noted that Sheila also mentions that Ian Coates is now dealing with this. 

To the best of my knowledge, Ian Coates had spent at least ten years as a Labour Manager with Balfour Beatty subsidiary, Haden Young prior to joining Drake & Scull/Emcor.

NOTE OF DISCUSSION WITH SHEILA KNIGHT DATED 20/03/09 (ITEM 2P)

We also now know from my own written evidence to the Select Committee that many of these names did end up on the Consulting Association files (items 2i and 2l in the following link). 

It's important to note that I only had access to twenty or so of the possible twenty thousand pages that make up the 3,200 blacklist files to establish this connection.
 
CONSULTING ASSOCIATION FILES FOR PFIZER PROJECT WORKERS (ITEMS 2I & 2L)

Raising concerns about being Blacklisted to Haden Young Personnel Director, Prue Jackson - 17 July 2005

I write to Prue Jackson expressing my concerns about my treatment and being placed on the Blacklist on 17 July 2005. 

I go into detail about the procedure and refer to a conversation with her about a Michael Shakespeare who was prevented from working on one of our projects at the time following a Blacklist check in which she was involved.

LETTER TO PRUE JACKSON - 17 JULY 2005 (page 1) 

LETTER TO PRUE JACKSON - 17 JULY 2005 (page 2)

I have only as recently as yesterday learned that the Consulting Association had kept a file on Michael Shakespeare up to the time they were raided by the ICO in 2009.

Prue responds on 22 July 2005 appointing Peter Barnes to hear my grievances. She makes no reference to the points I've raised about being Blacklisted.

PRUE JACKSON LETTER - 22 JULY 2005 

I write to Prue again on 29 July 2005 pointing out that I'm left with no alternative than to approach a senior trade union official to accompany me at the meeting. 

I point out that she may not have appreciated the significance of the information I have in relation to my concerns about being blacklisted, which extends beyond the Haden Young check sheets to another Balfour Beatty subsidiary, Balfour Kilpatrick Limited.

I point out that this information would be disclosed to the trade union official accompanying me to my grievance hearing and that he or she will be able to make use of this beyond the meeting.

LETTER TO PRUE JACKSON - 29 JULY 2005

Prue responds on 3 August 2005. She has absolutely no concerns about a trade union official attending my grievance hearing and the fact that this person will gain access to the Blacklisting evidence in my possession.

She also states in the sentence between to two pages that the company has no Blacklisting policy. She is lying!

PRUE JACKSON LETTER - 3 AUGUST 2005 (page 1) 

PRUE JACKSON LETTER - 3 AUGUST 2005 (page 2) 

I was only to learn the true reason why she was not concerned about a trade union official coming into possession of the Blacklisting information six months or so later. This is probably best summed up in this Radio 4 report.

BBC RADIO 4 - THE REPORT 

I write to Prue again on 10 August 2005 stating that I have to look at what she says about having no Blacklisting policy with a degree of scepticism based on our previous discussions.

I was referring to the time she called me to prevent Michael Shakespeare attending one of our projects following a Blacklisting check that was processed via her office in Watford.

I also ask for her to attend the meeting. I know she is lying about there being no Blacklisting policy and want her present at the meeting.

LETTER TO PRUE JACKSON - 10 AUGUST 2005

My Grievance Hearing - 25 August 2005

Present: 

Peter Barnes - Haden Young Director
Roy Bowdler - Haden Young
Micky Tuff - Amicus/Unite

The following three pages detail the contemporaneous notes taken by Peter Barnes at my grievance hearing on my concerns about being Blacklisted by the company.

PETER BARNES NOTES (page 1) 

PETER BARNES NOTES (page 2) 

PETER BARNES NOTES (page 3) 

I go into great detail about my concerns about being Blacklisted in this meeting and present Peter and Micky Tuff with the Haden Young Blacklist check sheets that were in my possession. 

It is these sheets that eventually enable David Clancy from the ICO to locate and close down the Consulting Association in 2009.

I also give Micky Tuff the Sheila Knight memo and list of five hundred or so tradesmen following the meeting.

HADEN YOUNG BLACKLIST CHECK SHEETS

I inform Peter that I'd discussed Ian Kerr with Prue when she called me to prevent Michael Shakespeare from going to one of our projects back in February that year. 

It was in this conversation that Prue had confirmed to me that the Blacklisting procedure was the same one I'd experience many years ago during my employment at Carillion.

Yet all Peter records is a brief scribble on this, which is highlighted in green on page 2 above.

Investigation by Peter Barnes into my grievances

Peter Barnes took nearly seven weeks to respond to my grievances, stating that this had taken some time to investigate.

I was to learn from the documents provided from disclosure for my subsequent Tribunal that his investigation entailed one trip to the Tamworth office on 22 September 2005 with a brief stopover at the Coventry Arena Project on his return journey back to the Watford office.

The notes Peter took for this investigation (and again only sourced via disclosure a year later) make no reference at all to any investigation into the Blacklisting.

Peter wrote to me with his conclusions on 12 October 2005 stating that he could not uphold my grievances and referred me back to Prue Jackson. 

This is some thirteen weeks after I had first raised these grievances with her back on 25 July 2005

I'm off work sick on no pay and they are deliberately ignoring/denying/brushing aside the matters I'm raising with them.

His response to my grievance was that Prue Jackson had written to me to assure me there was no policy of Blacklisting (see below).

PETER BARNES GRIEVANCE HEARING RESPONSE 12 OCTOBER 2005

My Letter to Prue Jackson - 20 October 2005

Referred back to Prue Jackson, I write to her with a report correcting matters yet again.

In this I reiterate the facts in respect of their Blacklisting procedure.

MY GRIEVANCE RESPONSE - 20 OCTOBER 2005 (page 1)

MY GRIEVANCE RESPONSE - 20 OCTOBER 2005 (page 2)

My Grievance Hearing with David Beck - 16 December 2005

Further correspondence was exchanged in which Haden Young did not make any further reference to the Blacklisting. A meeting was set up with David Beck for 16 November 2005 for the next stage of the grievance process.

Micky Tuff accompanied me to this meeting. I was still under the mistaken impression he was there to help me. He was not.

This was a very short meeting as the company had placed an embargo on what I could discuss so it became pointless. 

A few letters were exchanged in which David Beck and Prue Jackson avoided any reference to the Blacklisting and I resigned the following January.

My Tribunal - November 2006

The following senior management and Directors gave evidence at my tribunal:

Chris Pearson - Company Secretary Balfour Beatty
David Beck - Managing Director Haden Young -
Prue Jackson - Personnel Director Haden Young
Alex Currie - Regional Director Haden Young
Lawson Elliot - Director Haden Young
Peter Barnes - Director Haden Young
David Brindley - Regional Manager Haden Young

Those questioned on the Blacklisting by my Barrister all lied under oath, stating that they did not operate a Blacklisting procedure.

Alex Currie who is still employed by the company called me a fantasist in his written evidence.

Prue Jackson denied that Michael Shakespeare had been part of any blacklisting checks, stating that he had been denied employment because he had not worked in the industry for some time.

The Tribunal Chairman, Mr Alan McGarry summed up his findings on the Blacklisting in his Judgment as follows:

"As to the alleged blacklist, our finding is that none existed (at least in relation to the claimant's grade of employee) and Mr Wainwright's fear that he would be placed upon one had no sound basis other than his own, rather wild assumptions arising out of an increasing mistrust of his employer which he has been unable to show was in any way justified".

Which, brings us right back to the beginning of this post and the letter to the Non-Executive Directors last week highlighting that their current HR Director, Paul Raby was a main contact with the Consulting Association.