Unions demand Lend Lease be kept clear of housing contract
HARINGEY Council must not “get into bed with blacklisters” in a controversial billion-pound housing deal, unions have warned ahead of an emergency lobby tonight.
Leaders of the north London council have awarded preferred bidder status to construction giants Lend Lease in plans which will see £2 billion of council property handed to a private developer as part of the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV).
Residents and unions have condemned the plans as a “social cleansing programme” that will result in thousands of council house tenants removed from their homes with no guarantee of return.
Unite the union warn that a similar Lend Lease development of the Heygate Estate in Southwark in 2012 saw council tenants not only forced to move out of their homes but out of London altogether.
On top of this, Lend Lease was also involved in the notorious Consulting Association blacklisting scandal which affected over 3,000 workers.
Unite and general union GMB both urged the council not to take on the tarred construction company. Senior Unite official Adrian Weir said: “Lend Lease were blacklisters and breached building workers’ human rights — the right to be active in your union.
“In the absence of other sanctions, it is the view of Unite that blacklisters should not be rewarded with public contracts, particularly by Labour councils.”
The HDV plans have been met with widespread crossparty opposition and tonight’s scrutiny meeting will examine the decision made by the council cabinet in February.
The council’s own housing and regeneration scrutiny panel report, published in December, recommended “that the HDV plans are halted.”
It warned that the regeneration plans pose “unacceptably high risks” and “what the council and by extension its tenants and residents gain from the proposed HDV is far less clear than what it and they stand to lose.”
GMB regional secretary Warren Kenny said: “We again call on the council to take a step back and review this decision.
“Nobody disputes the need to bring much needed regeneration projects to the borough but this should not be done by selling off the family silver or at the expense of current and future council tenants.”
The protest will take place at 6pm tonight at the Haringey Civic Centre, north London.