The company BAM Construction, has been named as the preferred bidder to build the V&A Dundee museum. The firm met with the city council’s policy and resources committee and won the ‘preferred bidder status’ – even after objections were raised by unions and opposition councillors due to the ongoing controversy over claims that the company took part in the blacklisting of employees.
The new V&A will be the first permanent addition to the museum outside of London, and will be the centrepiece of a £1bn redevelopment of Dundee’s waterfront area. The venture is projected to create many thousands of jobs, and will inject hundreds of thousands of tourists into Dundee. The creation of the new museum is also set to produce millions of pounds of investment for the city.
Although a spokesman for the company confirmed BAM had used the referral services of The Consulting Association. This particular Association was found to be holding a blacklist of more than 3,000 workers in 2009. But the spokesman sought to assure that this was “to a very limited degree”.
Members of the Dundee Trades Union Congress handed out leaflets criticising the company before the meeting was held. The opposition Labour group member on Dundee council Richard McCready, called the decision of BAM as preferred bidder for the V&A project to be a “moral issue”.
The general secretary of the Ucatt building workers’ union; Steve Murphy, said that blacklisting firms should be banned from public contracts until they had “fairly compensated the workers whose lives they ruined”. he added that the company had accounted for this and apologised, put appropriate training and procedures and training in place to prevent any such occurrence in the future, and had given a public commitment to compensate those effected detrimentally.
Yet a motion proposed by Mr McCready to “not agree” with the appointment of BAM as preferred bidder was rejected by Dundee councillors,and discussions will now take place between dundee authorities and BAM regarding construction costs for the project, originally estimated at £45m.
The firm “categorically” denies having taken part in blacklisting in Scotland.