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Shropshire GMB Crocodile Tears protest on 10 Nov

Thursday, November 6, 2014
Managers like Sandy Palmer shedding crocodile tears now for their part in blacklisting 3,213 workers won't wash, neither will the Nuremberg Defence of "just following superior orders” says GMB 

GMB will hold a protest demonstration in Ellesmere, in Shropshire on Monday evening 10th November to shame Sandy Palmer former General Manager of Carillion, who was named in Parliament, for his links to directly blacklisting 36 construction workers. Sandy Palmer is member of Ellesmere Rural Parish Council which meets in Ellesmere Town Hall at 7pm.

Blacklisting came to light when in 2009 the ICO seized the Consulting Association (TCA) database, run by Ian Kerr, of 3,213 construction workers and environmental activists used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists. 

Sandy Palmer was General Manager for Tarmac / Carillion from 1992-2001. He worked alongside Dave Aspinall for Carillion’s in-house agency Network Construction Services Ltd (NCS). He was Managing Director of NCS from 2002-2010 where he is still a shareholder. He was named by Alan Wainwright in evidence to the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Select Committee enquiry on blacklisting.

This is the final date in the first leg of a national “Crocodile Tears” protest tour to shame 63 construction industry managers named as blacklisters who have yet to come clean and apologise for their actions. The second leg is currently being planned. See notes to editors 2 for the list the 63 managers and where they worked. 

The details of the protest are as follows:

from 6.30pm 10th November,
Outside Ellesmere Rural Parish Council
Ellesmere Town Hall,
1-3 Willow Street,
SY12 0AL

Note the Ellesmere Rural Parish Council meeting follows a Planning Meeting which commences at 7.00p.m. At the protest there will be a person in a crocodile suit accompanied by union members with flags and banners and slogans “Nuremberg defence on blacklisting won’t wash” and“Blacklisters come clean”. 

This is what GMB know of the blacklisting activities of Carillion group of companies and Sandy Palmer: 

·     Carillion, and associated companies, have been described in evidence to the High Court by Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd as ‘heavy users of the Consulting Association. Carillion Third Parties put 137 workers on the blacklist. Further there are 107 occasions on which the Carillion Third Parties are recorded as refusing employment to workers.

·     Carillion and associated group companies have 367 references on the blacklisting files. The people who were involved with Carillion, Crown House Technologies, Tarmac and Mowlem at the time of the blacklisting scandal were named as Liz Keates, Head of Employee Relations; Roy Hay, Director of Offshore Personnel Services, Technip; Dianne Hughes, Deputy Director of Human Resources, The Big Lottery Fund; Frank Duggan, Company Secretary, Fuscha Limited; Kevin Gorman, Vice President Human Resources, Harkand Group; Sandy Palmer, member of Ellesmere Rural Parish Council; Dave Aspinall, Managing Director, Network Construction Services Ltd; and, Roger Robinson, recently retired as CEO, European Hub, Laing O'Rourke. 

·     Sandy Palmer is referenced 36 times in TCA files against 34 individuals. 33 of these workers were put on to the blacklist by Sandy Palmer, 8 of these were subsequently refused work when name checked by other blacklisting firms. 

·     They have been listed as ‘Involved in dispute at Connah’s Quay’; ‘Union Activity’; ‘Militant’, ‘Friend and confidante of ****** ***** (another worker blacklisted by Palmer for union activity); ‘Highly vocal in support of union at mass meeting’; ‘very mouthy and militant, stirring up other men’; union activity – a lot of verbal support to shop stewards’; ‘will bring in a trade union rep rather than talk to site management’; ‘appointed steward, very vocal on I.R. matters stirring men up’; ‘involved with letter to 3271/35 regarding holiday pay entitlement’; ‘aggressive’; and ‘Militant Mouthpiece.’

·     One worker was put on the blacklist by Palmer in 1995 for ‘Union Activity” and stated that he acted as a ‘running boy for shop stewards passing on info about walk outs & generally stirring men up’. For this he was refused work in 1998 by Morgan Est. and in 2003 by Bridget May at BAM Nuttall.

·     Another worker put on the blacklist for being involved in the dispute at Connah’s Quay was a scaffolder from Merseyside. He was put on for ‘union activity’ and for being ‘highly vocal in support of union at mass meeting.’ 

·     A carpenter from Liverpool was put on the blacklist for Union activity.  He was described by Palmer as a ‘bit of a sheep but elected steward at Connah’s Quay.

·     Another worker blacklisted while working at Connah’s Quay was a concrete finisher from Merseyside. He was put on for ‘union activity’ and being ‘very mouthy and militant, stirring up other men.’

·     Another carpenter blacklisted by Palmer for being involved in the Connah’s Quay dispute was subsequently refused employment 4 years later by AH, an unknown contact from Amec Design and Projects Services (now owned by Morgan Sindall plc) when applying for a job on the Bromborough Water Treatment Plant.

·     Another carpenter from North Wales blacklisted for union activity at Connah’s Quay was also described by Palmer as giving ‘a lot of verbal support to shop stewards and persuading men to strike.’For being blacklisted for ‘union activity’ he was refused work 4 years later in 1999 by the Human Resources Group Manager at John Laing Construction.

·     A construction worker was put on the blacklist in 1997 for distributing the ‘Builders Crack’ paper at 3230 (BAM Construction) Tottenham Court Building site. He also wrote an article for The Socialist paper outlining the criminal prosecution of a company for dumping 300 bags of toxic asbestos outside a school playground and supermarket in Birmingham. This article was put on his blacklisting record. In 1998 the main contact at 3271/35 stated ‘London Joint Sites Committee leaflets distributed on London site accusing co. of breaching H&S regulations over holiday pay requirements with phone number for more information. Person answering phone gave name as ***** ********.” The main contact for 3271/35 was Sandy Palmer.

On October 16th there was a hearing in the High Court on compensation for 122 GMB members blacklisted by Carillion and other construction employers on claims served in November 2013. GMB’s claims were joined with a further 449 claims by other unions and parties at a High Court Hearing in July 2014. The next hearing is 17th December 

Talks between GMB and lawyers for Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI PLC on a compensation scheme broke down in June over the amount of money being put into the scheme. Employers have unilaterally launched a cut price scheme GMB estimates will cost less than 2% of the combined profits of the eight construction firms. 

So far 1,724 out of the 3,213 on the list know they are on blacklist and of these 570 cases are covered by claims in the High Court. That leaves 1,489 still to trace. 

See notes to editors for details of where those blacklisted come from.

Justin Bowden, GMB National Officer, said, 'Sandy Palmer and the rest might have thought they had got away scot-free, so shedding crocodile tears now for the systematic blacklisting of 3,213 building workers and environmentalists won't wash, neither will the Nuremberg Defence of "just following superior orders". 

I appeal to all managers who blacklisted workers to repent and assist those they blacklisted get proper compensation.

These so-called HR Professionals who ran the blacklists for the construction companies knew exactly what they were doing and they need to either apologise, come clean and say what they did, or get used to accounting in public for the damage they did to those they blacklisted and their families, especially with the Public Inquiry Labour has pledged after the next election. 

Just as the construction companies who paid their wages are being called to account in parliament, the courts and the media, every single one of these secret blacklisters will have their role dissected in public. This will not go away.' 


Contact Justin Bowden on 07710 631351 or Maria Ludkin 07956 632 657 or Tim Roache 07961 719545 GMB press office at 07921 289880 or 07974 251 823 For information on High Court action contact Leigh Day: David Standard 07540 332717 or Michael Newman 0795 223 9358 or Chris Benson on 07795425649. 

For people to identify more names on the blacklist call please call Phil Read at GMB on 07840 897997 or email him blacklisted@gmb.org.uk 

Contact Dave Smith 07882 579 452 re Blacklist Support Group 

Notes to Editors 1 Managers named as blacklisters- to be part of Crocodile Tears Tour 2014/15. 

(Most initial are from the files of those blacklisted.) 

· Michael Aird (MA) - Balfour Kilpatrick - Glasgow
· Kathy Almansoor (KA) - Kier Group – Sandy, Bedfordshire
· Dave Aspinall (DA) - Carillion / Crown House - Wolverhampton
· Alan Audley (AA) – Vinci - Watford
· John Ball (JB) - Carillion / Crown House - Wolverhampton
· Ron Barron (RB) - CB & I – Tonbridge, Kent
· Valerie Bennison (VB) – Whessoe - Darlington
· Ernie Boswell (EB) - Kier Group – Sandy, Bedfordshire
· Richard Bull (RB) - HBG Construction (BAM) – Colindale, London
· Iain Coates (IC) – Emcor – Kew Bridge, Twickenham
· David Cochrane (DC) - Sir Robert McAlpine – Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire
· Ann Cowrie (AC) - Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering - Edinburgh
· Tony Crowther – AMEC – Knutsford, Cheshire
· John Dangerfield (JD) - Balfour Beatty Scottish & Southern - Basingstoke, Hampshire
· Lynn Day (LD) - Cleveland Bridge UK – Darlington
· John Dickinson (JD) – Skanska – Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire
· Frank Duggan (FD) - Carillion / Crown House - Wolverhampton
· John Edwards (JE) - Carillion / Crown House - Wolverhampton
· Kevin Gorman (KG) - Carillion / Crown House - Solihull
· Elaine Gallagher (EG) - Balfour Kilpatrick - Glasgow
· Gerry Harvey (GH) - Balfour Kilpatrick - Glasgow
· Roy Hay (RH) – Tarmac - Solihull
· David Hillman - Sir Robert McAlpine – Birmingham
· Keith Horner (KH) - Ballast Wiltshire
· Dianne Hughes (DH) – Tarmac / Crown House - Solihull 
· Geoff Hughes (GH) – Costain – Maidenhead, Berkshire
· Greg Ingleton (GI) – Emcor – Kew Bridge, Twickenham
· Prue Jackson (PJ) - Haden Young - Watford
· Vince James (VJ) - Balfour Beatty Scottish & Southern – Basingstoke, Hampshire
· Armar Johnston (AJ) - Balfour Kilpatrick – Livingstone
· Liz Keates (LK) - Carillion / Crown House - Wolverhampton
· Sheila Knight (SK) – Emcor – Kew Bridge, Twickenham
· Ian Leake (IL) - Taylor Woodrow, Watford
· Tim Llewellyn (TL) - Walter Llewellyn & Sons Ltd, Eastbourne, East Sussex
· Alf Lucas (AL) – Mowlem
· Bridget May (BM) – Nuttall – Camberley, Surrey
· Cullum McAlpine - Sir Robert McAlpine – Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire
· Paul McCreath (PM) - HBG Construction (BAM) – Colindale, London
· Steve McGuire (SM) - Morgan Est plc – Warrington
· John Morrison (JM) - Morrison Construction - Edinburgh
· Arnold Nestler (AN) - AMEC – Knutsford, Cheshire
· Lisa O’Mahoney (LOM) - Laing O’Rourke – Dartford, Kent
· Danny O’Sullivan (DOS) - Kier Group – Sandy, Bedfordshire
· Sandy Palmer (SP) - Carillion / Crown House - Wolverhampton
· Harry Pooley (HP) - Rosser & Russell - Watford
· Derek Price – Morgan Ashurst – Stratford upon Avon
· Stephen Quant (SQ) – Skanska – Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire
· Paul Raby (PR) - Balfour Kilpatrick - Glasgow
· Murray Reid (MR) - NG Bailey – Ilkley, West Yorkshire
· Roger Robinson (RR) - Carillion / Crown House - Wolverhampton
· Sylvia Smith (SS) - Laing O’Rourke – Dartford, Kent
· Trevor Spice (TS) – Costain – Maidenhead, Berkshire
· Lisa Stevenson (LS) - Shepherd Engineering Services - York
· John Stoddart (JS) - SIAS Building Services - Keighley
· Alan Swift – Crown House Technologies - Manchester
· Pat Swift (PS) - BAM Nuttall - Guildford
· Alan Thorniley (AT) – Vinci - Watford
· Brian Tock (BT) - Carillion / Crown House - Solihull
· Ken Ward (KW) – Costain – Maidenhead, Berkshire
· Trevor Watchman (TW) - Balfour Beatty Major Projects – Redhill, Surrey
· Steve Wigmore – Crown House Technologies - Solihull
· Allison Wilkins – Skanska – Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire
· Carolyn Williams (CW) - Haden Young - Watford

2 Where blacklisted workers came from.
Blacklisted workers – number in each area        
Location Number on the blacklist   Location Number on the blacklist
Aberdeen City 14   Kent 95
Aberdeenshire 54   Kingston upon Hull 62
Anglesey 3   Lancashire 60
Angus 5   Leeds 53
Argyll & Bute 7   Leicestershire 5
Bath and North East Somerset 1   Lincolnshire 13
Bedfordshire 4   Manchester 183
Berkshire 2   Merseyside 173
Birmingham 69   Midlothian 3
Bristol 25   Monmouthshire 9
Buckinghamshire 20   Norfolk 7
Cambridgeshire 12   North Ayrshire 67
Cardiff 10   North Lanarkshire 22
Ceredigion 9   North Yorkshire 12
Cheshire 64   Northamptonshire 14
City of London 454   Northern Ireland 1
Clackmannanshire 3   Northumberland 7
Cornwall & Isles of Scilly 3   Nottinghamshire 12
Cumbria 27   Orkney Islands 1
Denbighshire 34   Oxfordshire 8
Derbyshire 16   Perth & Kinross 2
Devon 19   Powys 2
Dorset 8   Redcar and Cleveland 43
Dumfries & Galloway 6   Renfrewshire 15
Dundee City 21   Rhondda Cynon Taf 2
Durham 11   Rhondda, Cynon, Taff 3
East Ayrshire 18   Rotherham 56
East Lothian 1   Shropshire 2
East Riding of Yorkshire 16   Somerset 5
East Sussex 8   South Lanarkshire 16
Edinburgh, City of 52   Southern Ireland 1
Essex 57   Staffordshire 16
Falkirk 35   Stirling 7
Fife 24   Suffolk 9
Glasgow City 140   Surrey 32
Gloucestershire 32   Swansea 15
Gwynedd 12   Tyne & Wear 69
Hampshire 50   Warwickshire 1
Hereford & Worcester 3   West Dunbartonshire 8
Hertfordshire 14   West Lothian 12
Highland 15   West Sussex 11
Inverclyde 26   Wiltshire 5
Isle of Wight 1   Wokingham 10
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