Wednesday 21st March 2012


GMB is asking the government’s enforcement body EASI to conduct an investigation into the alleged strike breaking as breaches of the regulations result in fines of £5,000 per worker per day supplied to do the work of the strikers.

GMB is to stage protest demonstrations on Thursday 22nd March in both Swindon and Bath using a Wild West stagecoach and horses over a Bath employment agency running a ‘coach and horses’ through the law that forbids employment agencies to supply staff during trade disputes.


GMB has now made a formal complaint to the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EASI) that SkyBlue Solutions in Bath illegally supplied staff to the Great Western Hospital (GWH) in Swindon during strike days. A copy of the letter is available on request.

150 GMB members are involved in strike action at the hospital against their PFI employer Carillion over allegations of bullying, harassment and discrimination. GMB members have already taken fifteen days of strike action at Great Western Hospital in Swindon. A further seven days of strike action from Saturday 17th March to Friday 23rd March is in progress.

The details of the two demonstrations with the horse drawn Wild West stagecoach are as follows:


The stagecoach will drive through Swindon and GMB have members on the streets on Victoria Road at 10.15 a.m.. It will drive to Great Western Hospital, loop around the hospital and pulls up outside the Carillion office.

2.30 P.M. (for an hour) to drive past the SkyBlue Solutions office ROYAL VICTORIA PARK, MARLBOROUGH LANE, BATH, BA1 2NQ

GMB had already written to employment agencies including SkyBlue Solutions to make them aware that Regulation 7 of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Business Regulations 2003 prohibits an employment business (agency) from providing temporary workers, to replace workers who were taking part in an official strike.  An employment business supplying workers in these circumstances, will be committing a criminal offence and the end user/employer/client could be found to be aiding and abetting that offence.

The Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EASI) is the body responsible for enforcing the regulations. GMB is asking EASI to conduct an investigation in to the alleged strike breaking. Breaches of the regulations result in a fine of £5,000 per worker per day supplied to do the work of the strikers.

GMB last week called on Carillion to establish an Investigation Board to oversee the investigation into the allegations of bullying, harassment and discrimination of GMB members employed on the PFI contract at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon. GMB has suggested that this Board consist of representatives from Carillion, the NHS Hospital Trust, GMB and the PFI owner Semperian. GMB has also raised with Carillion the company’s invitation to the Police to investigate matters connected with the allegations of bullying and harassment. GMB is keen to be involved in this investigation.

Although these members have already taken 15 days of strike action between February 14th and March 12th  there has been no movement whatsoever by Carillion to deal with the issues at the heart of the dispute. This is the reason GMB has called for an Investigation Board to be established to get progress.

During the strike days these union members have fanned out across the country to visit staff employed by Carillion at other locations and they will also visit staff at locations where Semperian own the PFI contract. During these visits they will seek support and explain the tax dodging involved in these PFI contracts. See Notes to Editors for list of Carillion and Semperian sites.

Carole Vallelly GMB Organiser said, “The purpose of these two demonstrations is to make it clear to everybody that Carillion and SkyBlue Solutions are driving a ‘coach and horses’ through the law that states employers are not allowed to use agency workers to strike break.

GMB has given chapter and verse to the Employment Agencies Standards Inspectorate of how SkyBlue Solutions have been supplying agency workers from bath to do the work of our striking members. The penalty for breaking the law is £5,000 per person supplied per day they work. GMB will insist that the law is applied. 

Seeing a Wild West stagecoach and horses driving through the streets of Swindon and Bath will give people a visual image of what lawlessness is in practise.”