While the press were ruminating on the aftermath of its discredited actions, sectors of the construction industry were also hanging their heads in shame this week, as more revelations of the blacklisting scandal emerged.
In testimony to MPs on the Scottish Affairs Committee on Tuesday, Ian Kerr, the chief officer of The Consulting Association (TCA) – the outfit he ran which drew up a list of blacklisted workers – revealed more details of its operations, reported Building.
Kerr alleged that the services of the TCA – which was uncovered and shut down by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) – were used on a host of famous public projects including the London 2012 Olympics, where Sir Robert McAlpine was stadium contractor.
Kerr told the Scottish Affairs committee that he now believes he wrongly took the “flak” for the misdeeds of TCA in return for Sir Robert McAlpine covering the cost of winding it up, which he estimated ran to between £20,000 and £30,000. This testimony was strongly disputed by the contractor.
However, Robert McAlpine confirmed to Construction News that it paid towards costs in the belief that Kerr should not suffer the penalty alone.
Sir Robert McAlpine is currently facing a High Court compensation claim from more than 80 workers who allege that it was at the centre of a conspiracy to illegally deny them work because they were seen as “troublemakers”.
Following the ICO raid, Kerr was fined £5,000 for breaching the Data Protection Act by running the blacklist.
During the hearing Kerr also alleged that:
- blacklisting on the London 2012 Olympics was carried out by Sir Robert McAlpine, Balfour Beatty and “possibly Skanska”
- blacklisting was also involved on schemes such as Portcullis House, GCHQ, the Jubilee Line extension, PFI schools and hospitals, Wembley stadium and MoD schemes.
- there was “an awful lot of discussion” over Crossrail at TCA meetings because there was a perception that it was going to be a problematic contract.” Said the TCA had also held a “green file” of 100-200 environmental activists which was not discovered by the ICO.
A Balfour Beatty spokesperson told Construction News that it was “looking into these issues and would be prepared to give a comprehensive response to the City when asked to”.
Crossrail said that it required all companies working on the project to abide by the law – including the prohibition of blacklisting.