Crossrail ‘blacklisted’ construction workers, London Assembly told

London Assembly's John Biggs

London Assembly's John Biggs - Credit: Archant

Construction workers were allegedly removed from the Crossrail project for raising health and safety concerns, it has emerged.

Now the London Assembly has called on Boris Johnson to provide evidence of steps taken to make sure “blacklisting” is not being used in hiring and firing of people working on the £15 billion project.

Members voted yesterday (Weds) to urge the Mayor to reject the practice and to emphasise that workers must have the right to bring up safety concerns without fear of damaging their livelihoods.

The Assembly’s resolution stated: “It is deeply concerning that 28 workers were allegedly removed from this project after safety issues were raised.

“The Assembly calls on the Mayor to disassociate himself from such practices—every employee must be protected in raising health and safety concerns without fear of reprisals.”

It follows reports in a Sunday newspaper about such practices in the construction industry.

The resolution was put forward by the Assembly’s budget chairman and member for east London, John Biggs (pictured), who said that “links between the shameful and unlawful practice of blacklisting and Crossrail’s industrial relations manager risk tarnishing the integrity of this project.”

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He added afterwards: “The shameful practice must in no way be linked to Crossrail, as it is funded by the taxpayer. The bad practice of the construction industry using blacklisting databases needs to be brought to an end.”

Crossrail has since pointed out that the allegations related to their former industrial relations manager’s previous post before he joined them. The company also denies any blacklisting practices.

Officials from the Information Commissioner in 2009 raided the offices of the Consulting Association, a firm operating a blacklist containing names of thousands of construction workers, the Assembly was told.

Construction companies including Olympic contractor Sir Robert McAlpine, Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Amec, Skanska, Taylor Woodrow and 30 others used the association’s database, which contained information about workers’ personal relationships, trade union activity, and employment history.

The Assembly’s resolution also noted that the London Legacy Development Corporation’s chief executive has partially addressed the issue of blacklisting on the Olympic Park and other projects.