Kier lose house repair contract

A leading construction firm based in Tempsford has had a contract worth £16.5million a year terminated early.

Kier, who have carried out council house repair work for the last 14 years, have had their contract taken back in-house by Islington Council in London.

There is speculation the contract has been terminated because of Kier’s history regarding blacklisting, but they strongly deny these claims.

The Consulting Association collated information on thousands of workers, many of whom were blacklisted by building firms over their trade union links and health and safety concerns.

A Kier spokesperson said: “The Islington contract has ended for operational reasons, it is absolutely nothing to do with this historical issue that at its most recent affected the industry back in 2009.

“Kier is committed to fair and transparent recruitment of employees, and to ensuring that pre-employment vetting processes are not only legal, but follow industry best practice.”

Industry union, Unite have praised Islington council for activating the break clause in the contract with Kier, and called on other councils to audit their contracts for blacklisting and rogue practices.

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “Companies involved in the despicable practice of blacklisting have ruined lives through their actions over decades, and it should not ever be acceptable for blacklisters to profit from public contracts.

“We call on other councils and public bodies to follow Islington’s lead and look at ways of bringing services in-house from blacklisters.”

In response to Unite’s strong, a Kier spokesperson said: “It is disappointing that Unite would try to confuse this issue because the industry would benefit from clarity and union support to engage with those people who were working in the construction industry up to 2009, who might have been affected by having their name on the database held by The Consulting Association.”

The 140 employees who worked for Kier in Islington will now be transferred to the London Borough.

Gary Doolan, Labour councillor for Islington, said: “There is no secret about the bad publicity Islington council were getting, but the fundamental reason for the contract ending was performance.”

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