Unite, the UK’s construction union, is demanding that workers must not lose out financially after it was announced that Crossrail and the Costain/Skanska joint venture have terminated the contract to build the new Bond Street station with immediate effect.

 

Workers in Limbo

 

Workers and contractors were informed that work would cease yesterday (Wednesday 24 June) throwing them into limbo.

 

Innocent victims

 

Unite national officer for construction Jerry Swain said: “Workers and contractors are the innocent victims of the long-term problems and delays caused by the archaic manner in which Costain/Skanska has operated on this project.

 

“In order to avoid workers losing out financially Crossrail must commit to ensuring that workers will be swiftly re-engaged as soon as a new contractor is appointed to finally complete this long-delayed project. Workers should receive financial support in the meantime.

 

“The Covid-19 pandemic means that construction work is far harder to come by at the moment and it would be totally unfair if these workers did not receive financial support due to this shock decision which has nothing to do with their work.”

 

Poor industrial relations

 

The way in which the Costain/Skanska venture has operated industrial relations on both Crossrail and on HS2 has been highly controversial.

 

The joint venture has refused Unite officials access to the site at Bond Street, even when workers were fearful for their lives due to concerns about air quality.

 

Similar problems have been occurring for over a year on Costain/Skanska’s joint venture site on HS2 at Euston station in London, resulting in Unite organising a series of protests.

 

Wake-up call

 

Mr Swain added: “The decision to part company with Costain/Skanska at Bond Street must serve as a wake-up call to the company and they must change their management style and the way they treat their workforce.

 

“In order to avoid repeating the problems at Bond Street, the joint venture needs to embrace all the stakeholders involved on HS2, including trade unions.

 

“In a world where the Covid-19 pandemic has caused huge changes in the way construction workers operate, it is more important than ever that workers have normal access to union officials in a socially distanced manner.

 

“Unite will be making representations to Costain/Skanska to assist them in ensuring that the problems which have ultimately resulted in them losing the Bond Street contract do not repeat themselves on their planned operations on HS2.”

 

ENDS

 

Notes to editors:

 

During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

 

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

 

Email: barckley.sumner@unitetheunion.org

 

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: 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.