Workers’ rights and access for unions must be respected on the stalled Royal Liverpool Hospital development, Unite, Britain’s construction union, has demanded.

Unite made its call after it emerged that Laing O’Rourke is the favourite to replace Carillion as the main contractor on the stalled project. Laing O’Rourke is well known for being anti-union and has an especially poor history on Liverpool hospital projects.

Laing O’Rourke was the main contractor on the Alder Hey hospital project in Liverpool. During this project it refused to allow unions access to the workforce and barred the appointment of union safety representatives.

The Alder Hey project had a very poor safety record. In the space of a fortnight in 2014 there were five accidents on the site including broken limbs and a worker suffering a crushed pelvis.

Other problems on the Alder Hey site included the refusal to allow known trade union members to work on the site and the extensive use of bogus self-employed labour.

The problems were so severe they were raised as part of the Scottish Affairs select committee investigation into construction blacklisting.

Unite will be contacting the Royal Liverpool Hospital Trust, local MPs and the local directly elected Mayors to ensure that the union has full and free access to the workforce.

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail, said: “Workers on the hospital project have been in the frontline of Carillion’s collapse. It is now imperative that a new contractor ensures that workers’ rights are protected and the highest safety levels adhered to.

“It would be a disgrace if this flagship project was completed by a company boosting its profits by exploiting workers, ignoring workplace rights and cutting corners on safety.

“We will be working with local representatives to ensure our concerns are listened to, and further delays to the project are avoided.”


For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.


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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.