UK union: Protect workers from Crossrail and Costain Skanska split

Unite, the United Kingdom’s construction union, demanded that workers are financially protected and their employment secured after Crossrail and the Costain Skanska joint venture, in charge of building the new Bond street station, have parted ways. 

The two parties terminated their contract in the middle of a pandemic already affecting thousands of construction workers and despite the station being the only Crossrail terminus not ready for the next stage of testing. Workers were only informed that work would cease on 24 June (Wednesday), throwing many off them off guard.  

Unite asserted that Crossrail must ensure that its workers receive financial support and will be immediately reinstated once a new contractor is identified to finish the project. “Workers and contractors are the innocent victims of the long-term problems and delays caused by the archaic manner in which Costain/Skanska has operated on this project,” Unite national officer for construction Jerry Swain said. 

The Costain Skanska joint venture has a poor track record of relating with workers and unions. Unite accused it of union busting in the Crossrail and HS2 projects. At the Bond Street project, Unite officials were denied access to the worksite despite workers’ concern on air quality. At the HS2 project, it has denied Unite officials access to workers at the site’s canteen and welfare areas, resulting in the union organising protest actions.

Swain said that the Crossrail experience must serve as a wake-up call to the joint venture to avoid repeating the same problems and issues at HS2.  


 “Unite will be making representations to Costain/Skanska to assist them in ensuring that the problems which have ultimately resulted in them losing the Bond Street contract do not repeat themselves on their planned operations on HS2,” Swain said. 

Crossrail said that the decision to part ways was “mutual,” saying that it was made due to the volume of work remaining and the number of people required on site to complete the station in a post-Covid world.