New chairman of Major Contractors Group unveils radical agenda as he tries to lure deserters back to the fold.
The new chairman of the Major Contractors Group, Dermot Gleeson, is to shake-up the lobbying organisation in an attempt to win back members.

Gleeson said he was rethinking the composition of the executive committee so that it would automatically include the three largest MCG members. He did not rule out widening the membership of the body to include consultants and facilities management firms.

Gleeson’s rethink comes after the a series of high-profile defections. Amec and Mowlem, announced last month that they were to leave the group, and Willmott Dixon has given notice that it will quit. Alfred McAlpine left in July last year and Birse departed in the previous April 2002. Balfour Beatty jumped ship in 2001.

Gleeson admitted: “There is a feeling that our lobbying is not as systematic and as precisely targeted as it could be.” He said the composition of the newly formed executive committee would “ensure our lobby activities are properly prioritised, sharply focused and vigorously executed”.

Gleeson announced that a working party would be formed with the aim of forging closer links with facilities management companies and firms on PFI schemes.

Gleeson said: “PFI has in many ways transformed the way the major contractors work. One of these changes is a need for contractors to co-operate much more closely with service providers and facilities managers that look after and service PFI projects over the 25-30 years of their existence. We have got to understand not only our own discipline but also the FM element, and the interface between the two.”

There is a feeling our lobbying is not as precise as it could be

MCG chairman Dermot Gleeson

Some MCG members have suggested the group could in future expand to include large service providers such as Atkins. Gleeson said: “Some people think maybe the MCG’s composition should alter radically so that it includes other big companies involved in the PFI process. There isn’t a consensus but it is a possibility.”

Gleeson said that the group would not oppose the government’s plans for a corporate manslaughter law. He said: “Health and safety has preoccupied us more than anything else in the past 12 months. In general terms we are behind the government’s proposals. We may when we

see the small print cavil at some of it but at the moment the MCG isn’t anything but supportive.”

He admitted the MCG would not achieve its target of awarding skills cards to all workers on members’ sites by the end of the year.