Crossrail at heart of contemporary blacklisting scandal

Howard Beckett

The flagship but troubled Crossrail project is at the heart of a groundbreaking contemporary blacklisting case launched by Unite.

The case involves Unite member Daniel Collins who was working on the Costain/Skanska joint venture for an agency on the Bond Street Crossrail station project.

Serious safety concerns

Soon after beginning work on the project, Mr Collins witnessed some serious safety issues and followed the site procedures to report his concerns. Shortly after this, he was asked to leave the site “due to a reduction in work”, despite originally being assured that there was three years’ worth of work on the project. 

After he was dismissed, Mr Collins remained keen to work on the Crossrail project as pay was relatively high and assignments were for long periods of time. Despite being fully qualified, he was either unsuccessful in his applications or if initially selected, work offers were then subsequently rescinded.

Conspiracy discovered

Mr Collins then made a series of subject access requests and learnt that a number of contractors, agencies and Crossrail itself were involved in a conspiracy to deny him work on the project.

The companies involved in allegedly blacklisting Mr Collins are: Crossrail, Costain, Skanska, NG Bailey, T Clarke and the employment agencies OnSite and Beaver Management Services Ltd. 

Solicitors instructed

Unite have instructed leading trade union solicitors, Thompsons to pursue the case. Thompsons have issued all of the companies concerned with a letter before claim under the pre-action protocol procedures.

The companies involved are required to respond to the case and have also been instructed not to destroy any documents (including electronic documents) that potentially relate to the case.

Due to the alleged blacklisting that Mr Collins experienced he has been forced to leave the industry and is now employed in a different sector. 

Landmark case

Unite Assistant General Secretary, Howard Beckett, said: “Unite is launching this landmark contemporary blacklisting case on behalf of our member who we say was blacklisted out of the industry.

“Unite has always believed that blacklisting has continued in construction but the challenge has been to unearth this dirty and deceitful practice. 

“The fact that this alleged blacklisting has been occurring on a flagship public sector project raises massive concerns. 

“It is truly sickening that a worker who has raised legitimate safety concerns in order to protect their fellow workers, has been forced out of the industry, due to their public spirited actions. 

“Sadly Unite believes that this is not an isolated case and that other workers have also suffered from blacklisting. Those responsible must be exposed.” 

Rachel Halliday, of Thompsons Solicitors, said: “We have sent letters before claim to Crossrail, and six contractors working on the Crossrail project, and we await their responses. 

“We know from the construction blacklisting cases we ran for Unite that blacklisting has blighted the lives of too many trade union activists. 

“Working with the union we are seeking compensation for those affected but also effective action by the companies to end blacklisting as a practice.”