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Fri April 23 2021

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Shepherd bans 'untidy' union rep

6 Jul 15 Construction union Ucatt alleges that one of its regional organisers has been banned from a construction site because his presence would ‘make it untidy’.

Ucatt says its officials always wear shirt and tie
Ucatt says its officials always wear shirt and tie

Ucatt says that contractor Shepherd has blocked its man from speaking to workers on a major Leeds site.

The union says that its regional organiser Mark Martin sought permission to speak to workers on the new Leeds University multi-storey car park site being built by Shepherd. However the site manager said that he was not prepared to let him onto the site as he ‘made it untidy’, Ucatt says.

It says that, far being ‘untidy’, its male officials always wear a shirt and tie, and have the courtesy to make arrangements in advance of a site visit rather than turn up unannounced.

The decision to block Ucatt from the site appears to be part of a long running saga relating to Shepherd refusing the union access to its workers. Last year the company tried to block the union from the Leeds University Library site and only gave limited access, following pressure from other campus unions, Ucatt claims.

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Ucatt regional secretary for Yorkshire Rob Morris said: “This latest excuse is simply ridiculous. Last year Shepherd’s told us that we were disturbing the workers and this year it is that we make the site untidy. The question has got to be, what are the company trying to hide?

“If the company has got nothing to hide then there should be absolutely no problem with Ucatt freely speaking to the workforce.”

Adding a thinly veiled threat, Mr Morris said: “I hope that Shepherd will see sense and allow Ucatt access. Otherwise the union could be forced to picket and try to contact workers outside the site which could cause widespread disruption.”

The Construction Index has invited Shepherd to respond to Ucatt's allegations and present its version of events.

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