Unions have pressed Scottish government to ban companies associated with unlawful blacklisting from bidding for publicly-funded contracts, including Forth Replacement Crossing

Tim Lezard

Blacklist Holyrood lobbyUnions have pressed the Scottish government to ban companies associated with unlawful blacklisting from bidding for publicly-funded contracts, including the Forth Replacement Crossing.

The bridge, which is due to be completed in 2016, is the largest engineering project in Scotland.

Unite members lobbied the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday as MSPs discussed new legislation on public procurement (pictured. Image courtesy of Unite).

The debate comes just days after MPs criticised major construction companies for their role in the 16-year blacklisting scandal of anti-union surveillance conducted by the now-defunct Consulting Association.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey told UnionNews: “Many of the companies that have been named in the Consulting Association documents have been allowed by Scottish ministers to be involved in the consortium for the construction of the Forth Crossing and it is an absolute disgrace.

“‘So, we want the Scottish government to make certain that the Procurement Reform Bill is used to make it absolutely clear to companies that they cannot be allowed to tender again if they have been involved in blacklisting.

“This is public money, remember, and it must be used for the benefit of working people.”

Delegates at the STUC conference in Perth yesterday unanimously called for the estimated £11bn of public spending in Scotland to be used to “support social, economic and environmental benefits, to lift people out of low pay and banish exclusion and inequality.”

Unions believe the procurement bill is also an opportunity for the SNP government to direct more public funds towards smaller, locally-based construction firms.

They say this would help encourage more direct employment of building workers and make sub-contractors on building sites subject to tougher controls over safety.

UCATT delegate Jonsen Green told the conference: “We are demanding that community benefit clauses be extended, to be a requirement of the sub-contract exchange.

“A race to the bottom characterises these sites. This must be brought to an end.”


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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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