Worker sacked for pointing out health and safety breaches reinstated after protest
BUILDING safety campaigners celebrated a fast-track victory yesterday when a sacked Crossrail whistleblower got his job back 30 minutes after a London solidarity demonstration.
Rank and file construction workers mounted a crack of dawn blockade of project manager Costain-Skanska’s Bond Street offices to demand their colleague’s reinstatement.
And within minutes their anger had turned to celebration when news arrived that he was being handed back his job.
He was thrown off the site on Friday two days after raising a possible health and safety breach at the massive Crossrail site in Hanover Square.
Managers rejected his complaint.
The electrician, who wishes to remain anonymous, says he was then told by subcontractor VGC that there had been a “sudden downturn” and the “work’s run out.”
Yet four days earlier he was assured on his induction that there was “three years’ worth of work,” he said.
He told yesterday how he “felt like a criminal” as he was escorted from the site by a security guard and foreman.
“It was embarrassing,” said the man.
He had raised the alarm after seeing workers crossing a 15-metre gap bridged by two unguarded 16-inch Youngman boards — aluminium-framed planks — laid loose over a steel frame a metre above the ground.
“I can’t believe anyone approved that,” he said yesterday. “It’s archaic — like something from the 1970s.
“I could see someone falling off it.
“All it would take is to miss a step and the foot goes through the steel frame.
“They could fall and smash their head.”
He said yesterday: “I’m happy that I’ve been reinstated on full pay.
“But the wider picture is it’s part of the long battle against people who raise health and safety being moved on for it.”
Blacklist Support Group secretary Dave Smith, who helped organise the solidarity demonstration, said news of the worker’s reinstatement was an “absolute belter.”
He is among activists preparing mount a vigil next outside St Pancras coroners court into the death of Crossrail worker Rene Tkacik last year.
“We’re not prepared to see anyone dismissed for raising health and safety concerns,” said Mr Smith.