WORKERS on the Crossrail project face an escalating campaign of intimidation by management, including the threat of being run over by a lorry, construction union Ucatt revealed yesterday.
The union has asked London Mayor Sadiq Khan to intervene and also demanded an investigation, following the latest claims of bullying and intimidation of workers at various Crossrail sites across the capital.
A series of protests have been held over pay and working conditions at the Fisher Street tunnelling depot in central London, where union officials and workers say they have been filmed by staff of Crossrail and/or Costain and subjected to intimidation by security guards and managers.
Union officials have reportedly been refused “normal access to the workforce” and Ucatt has accused both Crossrail and contractor Costain of engaging in “dirty tricks.”
The union condemned management for the “extraordinary lengths” it is going to in an effort to keep unions off site, saying it “is like they have their own blacklist.”
Managers were accused of stopping and questioning workers entering the site following a demonstration last month over welfare facilities and a failure to be paid correctly.
The threat to run over workers was allegedly made by a lorry driver at Crossrail’s Plumstead depot. Ucatt members also reported being harassed by security guards at the site.
The flagship project has been beset by allegations of victimisation and “blacklisting” of workers since construction began, prompting the Scottish affairs select committee to call for an investigation in 2013 after it saw “clear proof” of such practices.
Ucatt London and south-east regional secretary Jerry Swain demanded an investigation, saying that trade unionists were being subjected to “nefarious surveillance” and adding that the use of “physical intimidation” was “reminiscent of an authoritarian state.”
He called on the Information Commissioner’s Office and the mayor to “step in and straighten out both Crossrail and the construction consortium Costain/ATC,” describing their behaviour as “illegal, intimidatory, anti-social and quite honestly an embarrassment.”