Unite is stepping up its campaign to ensure that when work restarts on the Royal Liverpool Hospital, construction workers on the project are not exploited and unions are fully recognised.
The construction union’s concerns about ensuring that workers are treated fairly is a continuation of the campaign involving politicians, community groups and other unions, which resulted last month in the local NHS Trust and the government agreeing to drop the private finance initiative (PFI) and to fund the completion of the hospital directly.
Unite has written to Adrian Kehoe the chief executive of the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University NHS Trust, seeking strict guarantees that any contractor appointed to complete the project:
- Adheres to national industrial agreements that govern pay and conditions
- Uses local labour and suppliers
- Directly employs workers (not employed under a form of bogus self-employment)
- Outlaws exploitative forms of employment such as umbrella companies
- Recognises trade unions and gives them proper access to the workforce.
A meeting with the Trust to discuss Unite’s demands has been arranged for Tuesday 13 November.
Unite has also secured the support of Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson and the Liverpool Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram who have participated in a video supporting Unite’s campaign.
When the previous contractor, Carillion, collapsed in January 2018, the hospital was about 85% complete. Since then, it has emerged that there were major structural problems with the hospital’s construction, including with the beams and external cladding. It has been estimated that £100 million will need to be spent on remedial work, adding to the original budget of £335 million.
The NHS Trust has so far refused to publish the findings of Arup’s report on the structural problems identified at the hospital.
Unite regional officer Colin Carr said, “It is essential that the Trust releases the report into the hospital’s structural problems, it is only through transparency that the general public will be reassured that the problems that have beset the project have been identified and will be resolved.”