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BBVS concedes to union access at Old Oak Common

24 Apr Construction union Unite has secured access to the HS2 Old Oak Common construction site – leaving the London tunnels as the only HS2 site where it is not welcome.

Agreement is finally reached after a two-year campaign by the union
Agreement is finally reached after a two-year campaign by the union

An agreement to allow trade union access to the HS2 Old Oak Common construction site has been signed today between joint venture contractor Balfour Beatty, Vinca, Systra (BBVS) and Unite.

The agreement secures the right of Unite representatives to visit the project’s inductions. It also allows Unite representatives access to rest facilities to talk to workers on the site during their breaks to address any concerns or worries they may have.

It was signed after a ‘relentless’ two-year campaign by Unite, which included regular demonstrations.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This agreement is the culmination of two years of relentless campaigning by Unite to gain formal access to the Old Oak Common site. Construction workers can now speak directly to Unite about all employment and safety concerns.

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“Unite is now in a stronger position to help defend and improve jobs, pay and conditions for HS2 workers at Old Oak Common.”

Unite now has site access agreements with four out of five of the joint venture contracting groups working on HS2: BBVS, Align, EKFB and Mace/Dragados.

The only joint venture to remain without a site access agreement is Skanska, Costain, Strabag (SCS), which is responsible for the project's London tunnels.

Unite regional officer Declan Murphy said: “Agreeing trade union site access should be a matter of course for all construction contractors. But the successful campaign to achieve the agreement with BBVS shows that Unite will overcome any obstacle put in its way to ensure workers are not denied union access. Unite will now be turning its complete attention to securing a site access agreement for SCS workers.”

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