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Major industrial strife averted on Crossrail

Unite members secure the reinstatement of an electrician suspected of having faced fresh blacklisting

MAJOR industrial strife on Crossrail has been averted after Unite members secured the reinstatement of an electrician suspected of having faced fresh blacklisting.

Workers had raised fears over the dismissal of Martin Overy, a former Unite safety representative, who was sacked almost immediately after getting a job at Paddington station.

Mr Overy, whose name was included on the Consulting Association’s notorious blacklist, was sacked five hours after signing a contract with Site Operative Solutions Limited.

He received compensation for having been blacklisted in 2016, but has been unable to find work since.

The Star understands that workers believed that Skanska, the company that controls Paddington, may have sought to get rid of him.

However, following a meeting this week with Unite official Guy Langston, Mr Overy was reinstated and will return to work next week.

In 2016, Skanska was compelled to formally apologise for its role in blacklisting workers.

The Crossrail consortium Bam Ferrovial Kier faced accusations of blacklisting in 2012 following the dismissal of Unite shop steward Frank Morris, which led to widespread industrial action and protest until he was reinstated a year later.

Blacklist Support Group joint secretary and Unite executive council member Roy Bentham said: “This demonstrates that this union can defend its blacklisted members.

“In an industry with such an appalling fatality record, workers who are prepared to raise concerns about safety should be valued.

“But instead, the treatment of Martin Overy seems a blatant case of blacklisting.

“The willingness of the rank and file to take action was never in question, and was central to Martin’s reinstatement.”

A spokesperson for Skanska said: “We can confirm that Skanska is not engaged in any covert vetting or blacklisting and is not aware of this continuing in the British construction industry.

“We recognise and support employees’ rights to form or join trade unions and we take a proactive approach to building good relationships with the unions.”

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