JPMorgan advice sparks protest

Shunned Crossrail workers gathered for a second day outside JP Morgan to express their anger at the firm’s position as an adviser to Kier group, part of the consortium which prematurely ended their contract on the London railway project.

JPMorgan advice sparks protest


The protesters were outside the Finsbury Street office for around two hours. JP Morgan Cazenove is acting as corporate broker and financial adviser to Kier in regards to its acquisition of May Guerney.

A JP Morgan employee who witnessed the protest, said: “It was very peaceful, they weren’t out to cause trouble. They had music and banners, they are not happy that JP Morgan has been working with Kier.

“One of them had a huge stuffed rat, which was brought further down the road today, it was up at the top of the road yesterday. They could very well be back tomorrow, who knows, there was a big Unite van outside.”

Safety concerns

The team of 28 was employed by EIS, which was contracted by the BFK consortium (BAM, Ferroivial and Kier) to complete electrical work across the Crossrail sites.

Trade unionists, however, raised concerns about on-site safety, after which Unite shop steward Frank Morris was banned from the site. EIS was subsequently removed from the project in September last year.

Unite believes it was the highlighting of safety concerns which led to the termination of the contract, and further, believes that Crossrail and its contractors have effectively ‘blacklisted’ these workers, an illegal practice which involves the termination of employment for reasons not related to performance.

Raising awareness

Ciaran Naidoo, communications officer at Unite, said: “There is evidence that blacklisting is rife at Crossrail. Kier, for example, paid the Consulting Association (a blacklisting company) £30,000 between 1996 and 2009 for membership and name checks.”

The former head of the Consulting Association, Ian Kerr, admitted to the Scottish Affairs Select Committee that representatives of the companies using the “blacklist” had held extensive discussions related to Crossrail.

In terms of today’s protest, Naidoo said: “The aim of today was to make all interested parties aware of the treatment of union workers and of the behaviour of the firms they are associated with, and to highlight the potential reputational risk that could be derived from their business with these firms.”

Crossed wires

A Crossrail spokesperson said: “The formation and use of the Consulting Association by the construction industry to blacklist workers was an indefensible practice. Crossrail Limited is not aware of, and has seen no evidence of, blacklisting of any kind in connection with the Crossrail project. All contractors working on Crossrail must comply with the law which explicitly outlaws the blacklisting of construction workers.

"Frank Morris is wrong to claim he was laid off for raising safety concerns. Mr Morris was made redundant by EIS electrical in September 2012 as the work EIS were carrying out to commission the first two tunnel boring machines at Westbourne Park had completed with tunnelling underway."

BAM, and Ferrovial were unavailable to comment.

Kier was unable to comment. 



Latest Stories