Laing O’Rourke accused of backdoor blacklisting

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UCATT are at loggerheads with major contractor Laing O’Rourke’s over its policies which amount to backdoor blacklisting.

Steve Dillon, Regional Secretary for UCATT Scotland held a meeting with Trevor Donoghue, Laing O’Rourke’s Senior Employee and Industrial Relations Manager, yesterday (November 29th) over the company’s refusal to give the union access to the £212 million Dumfries hospital project.

The meeting was arranged after UCATT held a series of protests earlier this month outside the Dumfries site.

The meeting with Mr Donoghue was short, sharp and volatile. UCATT were told the only access Laing O’Rourke were prepared to provide; was that officials could on occasion attend inductions where they could speak to the workforce and under the watchful gaze of management and then hand over any literature to Laing O’Rourke for distribution.

When UCATT raised the possibility of speaking to workers freely in canteens and rest areas not in the presence of management, Mr Donoghue told the union that form of access would not occur.

Mr Dillon said: “Laing O’Rourke have learned nothing from the blacklisting scandal. They want to intimidate workers not to join the union and if someone shows any interest then they will be marked as a target from day one. This is backdoor blacklisting and can’t be tolerated on a public sector project.”

The company’s refusal to allow access to the site is contrary to the Scottish Government’s Fair Work Convention a policy that Mr Donoghue belittled as “ your policy” during the meeting.

Mr Dillon added: “We don’t want favours just fairness and the ability to speak to workers freely without fear of retribution. If the Fair Work Convention means anything then the Scottish Government must take action to force Laing O’Rourke to provide proper access.”

Following the initial UCATT protest Colin Smyth MSP tabled a parliamentary motion condemning Laing O’Rourke’s action, which has received the support of 14 of his colleagues.

Mr Dillon, further added; “This issue will not go away. The campaign to win access from Laing O’Rourke will be ramped up over the coming months.”