GMB members begin 35-day hearing in Bristol

GMB flagA 35-day Employment Tribunal into an alleged culture of discrimination and bullying at Swindon’s Great Western Hospital has begun in Bristol.

Complaints by 51 GMB members employed by Carillion include direct and indirect discrimination because of race and/or religious belief, harassment related to race and religious belief, breaches of Working Time Regulations, unlawful deductions of wages and detriment on trade union grounds.

GMB regional officer Carole Vallelly said: “Four years after GMB exposed the regime of shakedowns and the culture of discrimination and bullying at the Great Western Hospital, the day of reckoning for Carillion and its managers is now here.

“GMB members who suffered under this reign will get to tell their story to the world, and those responsible will have to account in public for what they did and didn’t do.”

The workers, employed as porters and housekeepers in catering and cleaning and other support roles at the Swindon hospital voted overwhelmingly in December 2011 for strike action in protest against bullying and discrimination at the hospital.

They demanded that Carillion management act to stop the culture of bullying on the contract and for an end to discrimination in the application of pay and conditions on the contract.

They took 21 days of strike action but the company was not prepared to uphold any of the grievances of the staff. As a consequence GMB filed discrimination claims on behalf of the members at the Employment Tribunal (ET). There was a preliminary hearing in ET which was held during December 2012 and January 2013. GMB appealed against the ET decision on 13 March 2013, The Employment Appeal Tribunal ruled that the issue should go back to the ET in September 2014 and the ET ruled in Jan 2015,

In a separate dispute GMB is taking Carillion to the High Court seeking compensation for blacklisted construction workers. 224 construction workers from around the UK were victims of blacklisting by Carillion. The next date for a High Court hearing is Dec 2015.

 


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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