Unite the Union has backed calls from a group of MPs to strip the contract for restoration work on Big Ben from Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd, and award it to a firm that doesn’t have a history of blacklisting workers.
The involvement of Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd in the ongoing restoration of Big Ben was branded a ‘stain on democracy’ by Unite, with the union going on to say it was grossly inappropriate that a company that is currently being sued for blacklisting is awarded what amounts to a multi-million pound contract to restore the Elizabeth Tower and Big Ben.
The accusations against McAlpine go back to 2009 when the Information Commissioner raided the offices of the Consulting Association (which Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd helped to found and fund) and discovered a ‘blacklist’ of over 3,000 construction workers.
Unite the Union is currently suing Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd on behalf of the workers on the blacklist, and have already secured millions of pounds in compensation for blacklisted construction workers from firms who were involved in the Consulting Association.
Howard Beckett, Unite’s assistant general secretary with responsibility for legal services, said:
Unite is currently suing Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd on behalf of victims of blacklisting having forced them and other construction firms to apologise and pay compensation after our lawsuit exposed their role in blacklisting last year.
The Elizabeth tower and Big Ben are emblematic of the nation’s democracy and sense of fair play to the rest of the world. It is a stain on our democracy that a firm with a history of blacklisting and ruining lives should be awarded such a contract.
We urge other MPs to back this call for the House of Commons and Lords Commissions to strip Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd of the contract. It is simply reprehensible that a firm that was engaged in the pernicious practice of blacklisting should be allowed to fill its coffers at the taxpayers’ expense.
Sixty MPs have so far signed the early day motion tabled by Chuka Umunna MP calling for Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd to be stripped of the contract for the restoration work of Big Ben and for it to be awarded to a firm without a history of blacklisting.