Wednesday, 31 July 2013

BENT UNION OFFICIALS? (3)

This Youtube video from 2011 features electrician, Steve Acheson, who I was able to help win his tribunal in January 2007 by providing a witness statement and giving evidence at the hearing.

YOUTUBE VIDEO 

At 13:06 Steve states: "If you take our own union, Unite. They've got this cumulative evidence that the officials have colluded. Now, if I put myself in the general secretary's shoes, I'd be wanting to know who these men were forthwith so we could rid the union of their services".
  
Steve reiterates union involvement in the blacklisting again in this Youtube video from March 2013.

YOUTUBE VIDEO 

At 2:30 Steve states: "It unfolded that it was an elaborate conspiracy. Forty four of the biggest construction companies in the country, along with the police, security services and union officials, from a couple of unions by the way, not just Unite, but Ucatt, you know had erm. This is what unfolded. These people used to sit, hold meetings around the country in every region, and they'd discuss who it was gonna get on the jobs".

More statements from Steve about union collusion in this Youtube video from March 2013.

YOUTUBE VIDEO 

At 2:50 Steve states: "A conspiracy. Forty four of the biggest companies in Britain. The police, security services. Union officers from a couple of unions which we know about".

I'd been in regular contact with Steve until he stopped taking my calls about a year or so ago and he's always stated to me that he has conclusive evidence that proves trade union officials colluded with HR managers to place people on the blacklist.

Steve is a primary Claimant in the Guney Clark Ryan High Court action and has informed me on many occasions that GCR representatives had informed him that Unite were offering to put up the insurance for the High Court claim.

This was reiterated by Liam Dunne of GCR who informed me of the same in our meeting at the Queens Hotel in Chester in 2011. Liam also informed me that GCR were considering a separate claim against Unite for their collusion in all this.

I raised these points along with many others with Chuka Umunna in our meeting on 29 January 2013, but he continues to ignore anything that potentially implicates his party in all this.

So have Unite bought the silence of GCR and the blacklisted workers who have proof of union collusion? I don't know, but surely it's a question members of the select committee should be asking.

Monday, 29 July 2013

FRANK MORRIS & THE BLACKLISTING

Gail Cartmail and Len McCluskey of Unite are trying to aver that blacklisting is current and that Frank Morris is a contemporary victim. 

It may be, but as previously mentioned, I have serious reservations about the political motivations of some people in all this. 

This post should be read in conjunction with the 'CROSSRAIL & THE BLACKLISTING' post.

CROSSRAIL & THE BLACKLISTING 

Gail Cartmail's Evidence - 2 July 2013

In Gail Cartmails' evidence to the select committee she talks about Frank supposedly learning that his employer on Crossrail had concerns about his trade union activities:

GAIL CARTMAIL EVIDENCE 

At 14:52 Gail Cartmail states the following: "He was surprised. He'd never talked about trade unions. He'd never mentioned his trade union membership to any BFK personality. He decided to immediately protect his position by formalising his trade union role".

This statement will become more relevant later in this post as we learn more about Franks' disputes with employers on other projects.

Panorama Interviews

Panorama recently conducted interviews with Gail Cartmail and Frank Morris in which they discussed his experiences on the Crossrail project from 2012.

PANORAMA PROGRAMME

Gail Cartmail (24:06): "There is evidence that blacklisting is a contemporary problem, and, whilst I think it's unlikely that the industry would set up an organisation like the Consulting Association again, there is evidence that people are still active and busy, vetting and comparing names of lists they hold".

Interviewer: "This man, Frank Morris believes blacklisting is happening now, and that he is a victim".

Frank Morris: "My employment prospects have just gone from very good, always in work, to zero, nearly overnight".

It's important to note that this is a specific discussion about the Crossrail project and no other project is referred to.

At 25:50 we hear:

Interviewer: "Since then, Frank has found it impossible to find work". 

Frank: "I couldn't get a job cleaning toilets. I couldn't get a job anywhere in the construction industry".

Interviewer: "Are you saying you believe you were on a blacklist?".

Frank: "Yeah".

Frank goes on to talk about how they had no money and refers to his "missus screaming at him, saying, what have you done, what have you done?".

The Blacklisting Video - 2011

In December 2011, Frank Morris sent me and many others a link to a Youtube video via email. 

YOUTUBE VIDEO 

In this he's seen talking about his experiences on the Olympics project from 2010/2011.

At 18:35 Frank states "I got dismissed on the Olympics for blowing the whistle on the blacklist".

At 19:00 we see a demonstration in which Frank can be seen wearing a white 'Blacklisted' T shirt. 

The person on the loud hailer, Steve Hedley states "I represented Frank on his disciplinary" and goes on to talk about Frank being threatened.

So it appears from this footage that Frank was also dismissed from the Olympic project.

Frank then states: "Immediately after that I had six months out of work. Made 150 applications on the Internet. Over 140 applications through JIB companies and I hadn't received one job offer. Then I got a phone call from an employment agency. Oh, we've got a job for you at the Olympics. A week later I was dismissed. I was escorted off the site by two foremen".

It's always difficult to establish chronology from video footage, but it does appear from this footage that Frank was dismissed from the Olympics project, but then managed to find work on the project again six months later via an employment agency.

This begs the question, if Frank Morris was unfairly and illegally dismissed twice from the Olympic Project, then where were Gail Cartmail and Len McCluskey with all their legal and financial resources back then?

Frank says he was dismissed for "blowing the whistle on the blacklist", but a news article on Unite's website from 20 May this year states "Unite believes his name was on the blacklist because he raised health and safety concerns when he was working at the Olympics site".

UNITE NEWS ARTICLE

Either way, neither Unite or Frank Morris did not appear to take any legal action back then.

Belmarsh Prison

Further evidence reveals that Frank Morris was not in fact dismissed from the Olympics project (for whatever reason). In an interview with Socialist Worker in February 2011, Frank reveals that he was in fact transferred from the Olympic project to another project (Belmarsh Prison) by his employer, Daletech.

SOCIALIST WORKER ARTICLE 

Frank then provides a very similar story to that subsequently given about his experiences on the Crossrail project about having to work in isolation, being intimidated and threatened by management, etc. He even states that he had to call the police. All evidence that would surely support a legal claim against the employer if they had acted in breach of their contract with him.

It does therefore appear that it was on the Belmarsh Prison project where Frank was dismissed from Daletech following an altercation with a supervisor and subsequent disciplinary hearing.

Summary

I will expand further on this post when I have more time, but for now, it does appear that Frank Morris has a very similar story to tell from at least three projects dating back to 2010 and that his comments about his employment prospects going from very good, always in work, to zero, nearly overnight after being released from the Crossrail project may not be entirely accurate.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

CROSSRAIL & THE BLACKLISTING

I've learned that the select committee has written to the Government challenging them to investigate blacklisting on the Crossrail project following Gail Cartmails' (GC) recent evidence to them on 2 July 2013. I've listened again to the first thirty minutes or so of her evidence and believe this is enough to establish a reasonable account of what may have gone on here when she refers to the removal of Frank Morris (FM) from the project.

UNITE EVIDENCE 

The 'So Called' Blacklist

Firstly GC states that I published a list at 14:38. She later refers to this as a blacklist at 14:43 and later refers to it again stating that FM was "already on another blacklist already in the public domain". At no time does she state that her union were in full possession of those lists and all my blacklisting evidence as far back as 2005 and nor do any of the committee present question her on why the union buried all this evidence back then.

The document she refers to is the lists of approximately 500 names from the Jubilee Line (JLE), Pfizer (P) and Royal Opera House (ROH) projects from 2000. We already know from my evidence that this was three lists of names that were circulated between Emcor Drake & Scull (JLE) and Balfours (P and ROH), for the Labour Managers to make their own specific checks between the respective companies.

We also know from my evidence that a selection process took place on the JLE whereby all the supervisors were called to a meeting to single out the "troublemakers". I learned this from a supervisor on the project, Tony Willoughby, and you can read my notes from the telephone conversation with him on 4 May 2006 at item 2q here:

TONY WILLOUGHBY EVIDENCE

We also know from my evidence that only a selection of these 500 names made it onto the Consulting Association (CA) database, which would most certainly have emanated from that selection process. GC confirms that FM did not have a CA file at 15:05, so he was not highlighted in that supervisors' meeting on the JLE.

The HR Managers

GC states that 44% of the CA main contact HR managers named by the Kerrs are currently working on Crossrail and uses the suggestion of an "oversight" as the reason FM managed to bypass their checking procedures and gain work on the project. If they were operating a blacklisting procedure on the project as GC suggests and FM did have previous, then he would certainly not have gained work on the project in the first place. Certainly not with that level of HR management with that much blacklisting experience present.

The Sub Contractor EIS

GC consistently refers to EIS (FM's employer) as a sub-contractor, but does once state at 14:49 that "the owner of EIS as a labour supplier was very canny". This does suggest that EIS were most probably a recruitment agency supplying temporary labour on an hourly basis to the project.

There's a clear definition between a sub-contractor and a labour agency. A sub-contractor agrees a fixed price for a fixed section of work and employs their own labour, supervision and management to install, check and invoice periodically for the completed work and any agreed revisions. A recruitment agency simply provides operatives at an hourly rate on a temporary basis to suit the fluctuating needs of the build process. 

In my experience, agency labour can be released with no notice unless both parties have a written contract that states otherwise.

The select committee may have seen evidence of a 'sub-contract order', but was this a sub-contract order for a fixed piece of work or just a sub-contract order to supply operatives as and when required at an hourly rate from a recruitment agency?

The fact that Frank Morris was moved about on the project suggests he was an agency worker, but only scrutiny of the actual contract between the parties will establish the true contractual relationship between EIS and their client.

The 18 Month Contract Extension

GC also states that EIS were given an 18 month contract extension. This may be, but if EIS were a labour agency then that contract would surely specify that the supply levels were to be determined by the client. It could be for 27 operatives one week and 5 the next. Again only close scrutiny of that contract will determine whether EIS were a temporary labour supplier or a fixed price sub-contractor.

If EIS were a sub-contractor with an 18 month contract with fixed terms then surely they would have solid grounds to sue for breach of contract and loss of earnings.

GC also states that EIS is now in liquidation through the loss of that contract. This would suggest that EIC may only have been supplying labour to that single contract. 27 operatives supplied to one project? GC states that the owner of EIS, Rod Turner went through all the CV's of the 27 operatives and employed them personally. It does sound like this was a small labour agency owned by one person with a small number of operatives supplied to one project on a weekly supply and demand basis.

Frank Morris

You will see from my evidence that my career progressed from being an electrician (who had worked on big projects in London), to owning my own recruitment agency and then on to become the National Labour Manager at Carillion where one of my responsibilities was the procurement of all mechanical and electrical agency labour. So I have a good wealth of knowledge in this area.

In my opinion, agency workers/operatives know when their section of work is running down. It's blatantly obvious and they call around other agencies looking for work for the following week.

I've studied what FM said on the Panorama programme at 25:00. He said "I said I'd like to become a shop steward. It wasn't to cause problems. It was.. They're not gonna sack a shop steward, I'll be able to keep working". This strongly suggests that FM attempted to become a shop steward for job security reasons. Those were his words and would support the theory that work was most probably running down on certain sections of the project.

Summary

I have serious concerns that the trade unions are using the blacklisting issue to suit their own political agenda which is a tragedy for the thousands of workers who have suffered as a consequence of the blacklisting. Where were they from 2005 to 2012, four years after David Clancy raided the offices of the CA in August 2008. Nowhere. Not a peep from them.

Were the main contractors on Crossrail operating a blacklisting procedure? We don't know. But what we do know is that the members of the select committee present on 2 July 2013 could have asked GC the questions I'm raising to gain a much clearer picture of what really went on here before calling for an investigation but they did not. There does appear to be a tail and a dog here and one does appear to be wagging the other.

Chuka Umunna has again refused to provide the information I've requested under the Freedon of Information Act so I've now officially requested this under section 7 of the Data Protection Act following advice from David Clancy at the ICO. There has to be a reason why he does not want to provide this to me. 

I've also made a data protection information request to Unite for all the information they hold in respect of me, so I should have a clearer picture of what's going on between the Labour Party and the trade unions soon. That is if they don't continue to give me the run around.

Watch this space...