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‘What are they hiding?’

HS2 union busting campaign to be stepped up against proven blacklisters
Barckley Sumner, Thursday, October 3rd, 2019

Unite will step up its campaign against union busting on the multi-billion pound HS2 project by holding a major demonstration tomorrow (October 4) outside of HS2 Euston site being operated by the Costain/Skanska Joint Venture (CSJV).


The demo will take place from 10.30am-12pm and will be held at the CSVJ site, corner of Euston Road and Melton Street, London WC1 0BE.


The dispute is a result of the ongoing union busting being undertaken by CSJV. Costain and Skanska has refused Unite normal access to its workforce, despite the client HS2 agreeing a framework agreement for the entire project, that sets out minimum standards including allowing union’s access to the workforce.


Unite is seeking to have access, by prior arrangement, to the workforce in the site canteen during the workers’ breaks, a practice which is normal on construction sites throughout the UK.


Unite had been trying to resolve the problem of union busting through negotiations since the end of April, but the CSJV has refused to allow normal access and HS2 has declined to force their hand.


The demonstration tomorrow is the first stage of a series of actions and events that Unite will be undertaking in order to ensure that normal access is assured on the Euston site and throughout the HS2 project.


Unite has produced a short film which highlights the union busting of Costain and Skanska and HS2’s failure to tackle it.


Since the campaign for access began Unite has uncovered a series of problems on the site which are in direct breach of the framework agreement including underpaid overtime, a lack of holiday entitlement, the use of umbrella companies and a failure to ensure workers were covered by an accident and death benefit scheme.


Costain and Skanska are both convicted construction blacklisters.


Unite national officer Jerry Swain said, “Costain and Skanska are guilty of union busting and HS2 has acted as their conduit.


“Costain and Skanska were guilty of blacklisting on an industrial scale but have said they have changed their ways, we know a leopard doesn’t change its spots by denying Unite access to its site the question is, what are they hiding?,” he added.


“Unite is not seeking special favours it is simply looking to ensure that normal practices that occur on other sites are applied on all HS2 sites.


“HS2 agreed a framework agreement with the relevant unions before the project began and it is incumbent that those commitments are honoured.


“In good faith Unite suspended its protests to allow for negotiations to take place but we have been met with obfuscation, delays and total intransigence.


“As a result the demonstrations and the campaign will now be stepped up and Unite will be using all avenues to end union busting on HS2 being committed by Costain/Skanska or any other company.”



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