Tag Archives: The Consulting Association


More details continue to emerge about the BLACKLISTING activities of Kier Group, the construction giant which bought up May Gurney and now runs Bristol’s rubbish and recycling collection routes.

It seems that Kier paid a WHOPPING £30,620 to the industry-backed spy company The Consulting Association – giving them access to files on 229 workers!

After the recent council vote to ban blacklisters from BCC contracts (see The BRISTOLIAN #4.6), there’s not much else that can go wrong for Kier.

Except be named as the construction company under investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office for direct involvement in illegal snooping practices like ‘blagging’, perhaps?


Next issue (The BRISTOLIAN #4.8) we will cover the recent on-the-retreat move by blacklisters including Kier to set up a fund to pay out to the thousands of workers they shamefully kept out of work…


Council finally calls time on sickening anti-safety bosses – but will Mayor Fergo take notice?

Bristol Hazards Group - fighting the blacklisting bastardsAfter a long fight led by determined construction workers, Bristol City Council in early September voted to END THE GRAVY TRAIN of juicy local authority contracts for firms that profit out of ‘blacklists’.

With blacklisting, construction giants like McAlpine secretly trade ILLEGAL FILES on ‘troublesome workers’ – the ones that kick up a fuss over inadequate safety – and keep them out of a job.

Whilst the new council policy won’t affect private sector projects – such as the building of Cabot Circus, where building boss CULLUM MCALPINE admits his company blacklisted brickies and sparks from the site due to whistleblowing on safety issues – it could help workers running council services.

As we revealed in The BRISTOLIAN #4.4 back in June, KIER GROUP – now responsible for Bristol’s household waste collections after it bought up May Gurney – has a proven record as a key contributor to the blacklisting database.

Thanks to the LONG-RUNNING PICKET of May Gurney’s depots by blacklisted workers, union activists and local campaign Bristol Hazards Group that put the blacklist issue onto the table, Kier may yet lose that lucrative council rubbish collection contract…

Focus now shifts to McAlpine’s fellow Merchant Venturer, millionaire mayor George Ferguson and his own CAVALIER APPROACH TO HEALTH AND SAFETY.

It was Mayor Fergo’s outspoken disregard for safety that helped cost cyclist Sean Phillips his life in March (see The BRISTOLIAN #4.3), and in 2009 his deathtrap ‘Millennium Mast’ in the Centre had to be dismantled over fears pieces could fall off and cause fatalities.

And did we mention his fast-becoming-legendary CONTEMPT for ordinary bar workers at his image-over-substance hipster venues like The Tobacco Factory, #1 Harbourside and Canteen?

So whether Gorgeous George actually honours the blacklist ban, or throws his weight behind his corner-cutting rich building boss pals, is still not entirely clear…


A couple of examples emerge of just how charitable our old friends at the SOCIETY OF MERCHANT VENTURERS really are.

First, please step forward TIM ROSS who seems well-versed in that old Venturer trick of turning public money into private wealth.

Ross was, until June last year, Chairman of financial basketcase waste company MAY GURNEY (see The BRISTOLIAN #4.3 & 4.4), currently being rescued from financial collapse via a multi-million pound takeover by anti-union construction outfit, KIER GROUP. Indeed such are the financial problems at May Gurney that Bristol City Council has been discouraged from enforcing the penalty clauses in its waste collection contract with the company as it was thought it would bankrupt them and our rubbish could go uncollected.

However, bankruptcy is not something that’s likely to happen to Ross: once the ink was dry on May Gurney’s contract with the city council, he cashed in 100,000 of his shares in December 2011 to pocket A COOL £235,000 – conveniently before the share price of the company went south! He scarpered as Chairman of May Gurney six months later, just a few months before the share price tumbled below a pound.

Our second all-heart, all-charidee Venturer is CULLUM MCALPINE, scion of the civil engineering giant SIR ALFRED MCALPINE LTD, a firm that is never far from a tasty government contract or two. Cullum is a director of the company and has been personally named in papers lodged with the high court as being “intimately” involved in the operation of a “clandestine” organisation – The Consulting Association – holding a list of people barred from the construction industry. Or trade union blacklisting as it’s generally known.

The court papers claim, “McAlpine was the founding chairman at the [Consulting Association’s] inception in 1993. He was intimately involved in the foundation and operation of TCA. He formally offered Mr Kerr the position of director in August 1993. He finalised the written particulars of Mr Kerr’s employment, sending them to members for approval and obtaining legal advice in relation to them. He oversaw the arrangement of life and health insurance for Mr Kerr as part of his remuneration.”

IAN KERR was the director of The Consulting Association, the organisation which operated the ILLEGAL BLACKLIST OF WORKERS on behalf of big construction firms until he was exposed and prosecuted in 2009.

Perhaps Mr McAlpine should keep better company – as should the Society of Merchant Venturers.


Venturer DAVID ORD, co-owner of the Bristol Port Company at Avonmouth, has donated more than £330,000 to the Tory Party since 2005.

He was also one of forty donors to attend dinners with senior ministers, including the Prime Minister, in the last quarter of 2012.

So, did Ord use his access to ‘Dodgy’ David Cameron to lobby for the scrapping of plans for an electricity-generating Severn estuary barrage?


Notorious blacklisters Kier poised to take over May Gurney, run waste collection contract

Sacked sparks warn MG workers about Kier Group

Sacked sparks warn MG workers about Kier Group

As troubled waste management company May Gurney teeters on the edge, one thing is for sure: no one in Bristol is going to benefit – least of all the binmen and women struggling to keep the city clean under ever-tougher working conditions and on dwindling pay packets.

As reported in the last BRISTOLIAN, May Gurney’s highly-paid executives have been HOLDING THE CITY TO RANSOM, blackmailing senior council officers into inaction despite MG’s repeated failure to meet contractual targets. ‘Fine us and we go bankrupt; and if we go bankrupt, no rubbish will be collected at all, our workers will end up on the dole, and the council won’t be able to claw any money back.’

So there are sighs of relief at Shitty Hall at the news of a white knight coming to the rescue with a bail-out offer. Step forward civil engineers Kier Group, who are offering May Gurney a juicy £221 million in a merger deal expected to be confirmed in mid-June. When the deal goes through, the joint KG/MG organisation will have contracts at one in five of all the local authorities in the UK – including Bristol – with an estimated annual turnover of £2.8 billion, and £5.7 billion-worth of orders on the books. The service giant will encompass not just rubbish and recycling work, but also roads and housing maintenance, general facilities management, and construction.

Of course, when making a corporate omelette like this, eggs get broken. Around 200 are expected to lose their jobs – though only May Gurney’s frontline staff, not the directors and certainly not the shareholders, who will own more than a quarter of the new organisation.

As anxious workers who picketed May Gurney’s Keynsham depot in early May over the proposed deal pointed out, the company’s new overlords are up to their necks in ILLEGAL BLACKLISTING ACTIVITY. Like other big construction firms such as Costain (which also bid to buy out MG), Kier has a long-held reputation for getting rid of employees who call for safer working conditions. Such workers then find themselves turned down from jobs at other companies, regardless of skills or experience – enforced joblessness that can last for years, thanks to a secret ‘do not employ’ database operated by building industry-bankrolled spying outfit The Consulting Association. An offshoot of an earlier blacklisting service, the Economic League, TCA was raided in 2009 by the Office of the Information Commissioner, which then closed it down permanently for its extensive data protection violations.

But whilst TCA has been shut down, the practice of blacklisting lives on, as 28 electricians on the London Crossrail project (undertaken by a consortium including, erm, Kier) discovered just last year when they were unexpectedly made redundant. Why? Their union reps had raised real concerns over life-threatening safety issues.

Since then, around thirty local authorities across the country now refuse to accept tenders for publicly-funded contracts from blacklisting companies like Kier – but not Bristol City Council… Yet.

The question is, will our own council place more value in the lives and livelihoods of ordinary Bristolians, over the interests of rich corporate bosses?

And will His Royal Redtrouserness George Ferguson refuse to do business with Kier – or will he meekly stand by and let it take over where May Gurney left off, fleecing the city, endangering lives and blacklisting at will?

  • For more info on how to protect yourselves against bosses who blacklist, check out the Blacklist Support Group, read its Hazards Magazine and visit the Blacklist Blog