Labour calls for Scottish Government review of Carillion contracts

Carillion was involved in a �23 million platform extension project at Edinburgh Waverley
Carillion was involved in a �23 million platform extension project at Edinburgh Waverley
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The Scottish Government is facing renewed calls for a review of all contracts in Scotland which see private firms delivering major public sector projects.

It comes after revelations that workers on Carillion projects were being forced to pay a £17 “administration” fee to get their wages after the ­collapse of the firm.

Carillion went bust last week owing nearly £1.3 billion, with a pensions black hole of £590 million.

The firm was involved in key Scottish projects including Aberdeen’s £745m western bypass and a £23m platform extension at Edinburgh’s Waverley station.

One worker on the Shotts railway electrification project told yesterday how he was brought onto the scheme through an agency called Carillion Rail Resources. His wages were paid by Chester-based umbrella firm Crest Plus Operations Ltd, which charged workers a weekly administration fee.

Labour economy spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: “Not only does Carillion have a history of blacklisting, but it appears to be engaging in other ­abhorrent employment practices as well.

“It is simply unacceptable that companies working on public contracts are engaging in unfair working practices.

“Scottish Labour believes public services should not be run for private profit.

“These reports of workers being charged to collect their wages only strengthens Scottish Labour’s call for a full-scale review of how public ­sector infrastructure projects are funded and delivered.

“Instead of tinkering around the edges like the SNP, Scottish Labour believes we should come up with a new way of funding public sector projects that does not put huge profits in the pockets of shareholders.

“It is imperative that the SNP conduct a review without further delay.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said the Non Profit Distributing (NPD) model now used in Scotland to fund public projects with private finance means “no excessive profits” go to the private sector.

She added: “Since 2016 it’s been a legal requirement for Scottish public bodies to exclude contract bids received from businesses found to have breached the Blacklists Regulations 2010.

“This remains in force until such time that the business has taken appropriate remedial measures, or a period of three years has elapsed since the blacklisting occurred, which is the maximum timescale allowed under EU law.

“Statutory guidance published in 2015 requires public bodies to consider how to address Fair Work Practices, including the Living Wage in public contracts.

“We are in close and regular contact with Scotland’s business organisations to help businesses and employees across Scotland deal with the impacts of the collapse of ­Carillion.”