Unite the Union

Unite the Union

November 20, 2007 06:27 ET

Union concern over quality of Portsmouth hospital build

PORTSMOUTH, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Nov. 20, 2007) - Unite, the UK's largest union is calling for a meeting with construction giant Carillion over concerns the union has with the skills of the agency and casual labour being used to build the new GBP multi-million hospital in Cosham, Portsmouth.

To date, Carillion has failed to sit down with Unite officials to discuss their concerns over the 'skills competence' of it's mainly agency workforce. Unite is also concerned that there appears to be a lack of transparency at this new public hospital build, which is being constructed under the public finance initiative (PFI).

Unite has invited Carillion to talks regarding the company taking on skilled workers who are coming to the end of their contract at Heathrow airport, T5. Employers in construction tend to employ agency labour because, they argue, there is not enough skilled local labour. In the situation of Portsmouth hospital, hundreds of highly skilled local workers want to find directly employed work but the hospital is being built by agency and casual labour.

Frank Westerman, Unite regional officer says:
"Hundreds of highly skilled workers from the Hampshire area are now looking for work close to their home and families. Many had hoped that they could find work at the new hospital at Cosham. Unfortunately, the company won't even sit down with us to talk about taking on these workers. They seem to be happy using agency and casual labour that we suspect are not properly qualified to carry out the work."

As well as having concerns about the quality of the build, Unite officials are also worried about health and safety standards being enforced.

"When employers refuse to give the union access to construction sites we always worry about what it is they want to hide. I'm sure the people of Portsmouth want the 'state of the art' hospital that has been promised by Portsmouth NHS Hospital trust." added Frank Westerman.

Contact Information

  • Frank Westerman
    07958 511 567
    Unite Press Officer
    Liane Groves
    07793 661 657