Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, has welcomed the government’s announcement today (Tuesday 11 February) that HS2 will be given the green light to procced.

No further delays

However, Unite is concerned that the review into the cost of HS2 does not lead to further delays in completing the project and that instead the time is used to examine how the project can be completed more quickly and fully integrated into current and future rail projects.

Despite the government’s belated decision to back the project, Unite still has major concerns that workers will be properly treated and existing agreements on union access to the project’s sites are upheld, following the controversy at the Euston site being undertaken by the Costain/Skanska joint venture.

Good news 

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “The decision to go ahead with HS2 is good news for the economy in general and is an immediate fillip to the construction sector.

“When HS2 was originally proposed by the previous Labour government it enjoyed cross party support, in its vision to better connect London to the North West and Yorkshire, generating a significant boost for business.

 “The review of the northern sections of HS2 must not be an excuse for further delays, instead the government must look on how the final completion date can be brought forward, while applying joined up thinking. Ensuring that an effective cross Pennine northern rail line is linked into HS2 and built as soon as practical.

 “Public procurement must be for public good and that means a respect for workers’ terms and conditions. If HS2 is going to be delivered without further delays or cost increases it is imperative unions play a full part in the project.

 “There can no room as the HS2 project now fully moves forward for the bad practices of Costain and Skanska to be allowed re-occur.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

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

Email: barckley.sumner@unitetheunion.org

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