The UK’s largest construction union, Unite supported calls by a group of 60 MPs to strip Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd of the contract for the restoration of Big Ben

Deeming Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd’s involvement in the restoration of Big Ben as a “stain on democracy”, Unite said it was grossly inappropriate that a firm currently being sued for blacklisting should be awarded a multi-million pound contract to restore a national symbol of parliament and democracy.

In 2009 the Information Commissioner raided the offices of the Consulting Association and found a blacklist of over 3,000 construction workers. Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd not only helped to found and fund the Consulting Association, but provided two of its chairs.

Unite is currently suing Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd on behalf of victims of blacklisting having previously secured millions of pounds in compensation for blacklisted workers from firms involved in the Consulting Association.

Commenting Unite assistant general secretary with responsibility for legal services, Howard Beckett, said: “Unite is currently suing Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd on behalf of victims of blacklisting having forced them and other construction firms to apologise and pay compensation after our lawsuit exposed their role in blacklisting last year.

“The Elizabeth tower and Big Ben are emblematic of the nation’s democracy and sense of fair play to the rest of the world. It is a stain on our democracy that a firm with a history of blacklisting and ruining lives should be awarded such a contract.

“We urge other MPs to back this call for the House of Commons and Lords Commissions to strip Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd of the contract. It is simply reprehensible that a firm that was engaged in the pernicious practice of blacklisting should be allowed to fill its coffers at the taxpayers’ expense.”

60 MPs have so far signed the early day motion tabled by Chuka Umunna MP calling for Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd to be stripped of the contract for the restoration of Big Ben and for it to be awarded to a firm without a history of blacklisting.

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