GMB, the union for energy workers, has written to National Grid asking a series of questions on a major investigation into allegations of bullying, mis-reporting, fraud and corruption in a Gas Distribution Strategic Partnership (GDSP) covering gas mains replacement work in the West Midlands.
Balfour Beatty runs the GDSP in the West Midlands and North West in a contract worth about £4 billion over duration of the contract.
Gary Smith, GMB National Secretary, said: “We are receiving information about a major investigation into the GDSP run on your behalf by Balfour Beatty. I am told that the investigation underway is into allegations of bullying, mis-reporting, fraud and corruption. We understand that gas mains replacement work, running into tens of millions of pounds in value, may have been tainted by allegations of corrupt practice.
“The reports we have are of of a major investigation into allegations wads of cash changing hands, holidays being paid for and work carried out on individuals’ houses in exchange for work on your GDSP contract. Whilst we appreciate you may not be able to go into detail at this stage, we do require some clarity on what the extent of the corrupt practice is likely to be? Indicatively, what value of work was carried out following or as a result of alleged back-handers?
“In the recent past, National Grid was fined millions of pounds for mis-reporting of gas mains replacement work in the same area of the country where the current investigation is said to be focused. The mis-reporting was clearly fraudulent behaviour by any other name. We were led to believe that your previous investigation into fraud and mis-reporting was supposed to have cleaned things up. I trust you will give us an explanation why you believe “Project Nelson”, your previous inquiry, has apparently not “cleaned out the stable”?
“GMB understand that a senior manager from Balfour Beatty and 4 other senior managers have been sacked or left site.
“National Grid will claim this is “rogue managers”. However GMB has consistently warned them these contracts have been open to and have been riddled with abuse.”
Press Release, May 08, 2014; Image: gmb.org.uk