Six hundred days after the collapse of Carillion members of Unite and local health campaigners will stage a protest this Friday (September 6), as a result of the government’s failure to provide the necessary funding to complete the Midlands Metropolitan hospital and the ever lengthening delay to the project.
The protest will begin at 1pm and will take place at Gove Lane, Dudley Road, Smethwick B66 2SF.
The Midland Metropolitan hospital was part built when the principal contractor for the project, Carillion collapsed, on January 15, 2018.
Since then work to restart the project has not recommenced. While Balfour Beatty is expected to be awarded the contract, the government has not yet released the funding, creating further delay.
The hospital was originally due to be completed in October 2018 but it will now not be completed before late 2021, at the earliest.
In the meantime hospital staff are left trying to provide first class care for patients in facilities that are no longer fit for purpose.
Unite is also concerned that when work restarts the workforce will not be well treated and could be exploited as Toby Lewis, the chief executive of the Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospital Trust, has yet to agree to sign up to Unite’s construction charter, which helps to ensure good practice in the industry.
Unite regional officer Su Lowe said, “Patients in the West Midlands deserve better than this. The desperately needed hospital will be at least three years late.
“The government’s failure to release the finances that are needed to build the hospital demonstrate it is washing its hands of workers and patients in the West Midlands.
“Staff are performing miracles to continue to provide first class care in old clapped out hospitals, but with each passing winter that care is becoming more difficult to provide.
“When work does restart at the hospital it is imperative that construction workers are treated fairly and are not exploited. Any failure not to treat construction workers properly or not to recognise Unite will inevitably result in lower productivity and further delays to the hospital being operational.”