UCATT dismay as major Scottish projects the Forth Bridge Crossing and Aberdeen Peripheral road reject union scrutiny

UCATT officials are alarmed that two high-profile, major public funded construction projects have downgraded their commitment to healthy industrial relations and workplace safety by not reappointing union convenors.


Both the new Forth Bridge/Queensferry Crossing and the Aberdeen West Peripheral Route (AWPR) have suffered serious accidents during construction and require the continued vigilance of unions, management and the workforce.


Both projects had UCATT convenors trained in health and safety but when these convenors were appointed union officials and relocated off site, management on both projects rejected the idea of replacement convenors.


In April this year a 60-year-old worker was killed on the Forth Bridge construction site when he was hit by a moving boom on a crane. Another man was injured.


In September a huge steel structure collapsed and a huge mechanical road working machine overturned on the AWPR site. Luckily no one was injured.


The large and ever changing workforce on both projects also creates a challenging industrial relations environment which has been greatly alleviated by the presence of UCATT convenors.


UCATT Scotland, Regional Secretary, Steve Dillon, said: “We were all shocked at the death on the Forth Bridge site and the scale of the accident on the AWPR. These are both huge, high profile, public-funded projects where we and the general public would expect to find the highest, most stringent levels of health and safety provision – and, of course, continual scrutiny. Our convenors are trained in health and safety. One of their roles is to pre-empt problems and be another set of trained eyes on such vast projects.”


The decision by the consortia not to reappoint new convenors has reignited fears amongst construction unions that major companies have not learnt the lessons from the blacklisting scandal and are failing to engage with the union movement, creating longer term problems.


Mr Dillon added: “The decision by these two consortia is both worrying and perplexing. What lies behind these decisions and why are safety concerns being swept aside when everyone knows there have been real safety issues on these sites? UCATT, the Scottish Government and the Scottish public need to know.”


Notes to editors:


AWPR consortia: Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Galliford Try (Morrison)

New Forth Bridge/Queensferry Crossing: Hochtief from Germany, American Bridge from the USA, Dragados from Spain, and Morrison from Scotland


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