Supermarket ‘steps back’ from 30-year relationship after workers’ pranks are shown on internet

The Morrisons supermarket chain has severed its 30-year relationship with M&E contractor NG Bailey after videos of workers setting light to each other were uploaded to the YouTube website.

The supermarket giant made the decision to suspend relations with NG Bailey even though the contractor claimed none of the videos featured a Morrisons site.

NG Bailey is working on a multimillion-pound project to carry out electrical works on 149 Morrison stores – eight of which are currently on site. The contractor describes this as the biggest retail conversion programmes in British history.

Feet on fire on NG Bailey site

Roger Owen, Morrisons property director, said the supermarket did not want to be associated with the contractor until the YouTube furore was resolved.

Owen told Building: “I cannot allow my company to be associated with NG Bailey until such time as the issues that have been raised by the publication of the quite horrendous images of site neglect are resolved.

“We have said we will honour contracts currently under way, but until we know what action might be taken or where this investigation will go we think we should step back and take stock.”

Owen is also unhappy about NG Bailey’s handling of the incident: “I have asked them to keep me informed. However, I have not had any contact with them since last Friday [9 February] and I have been the one making all the contact.”

Owen added that he hoped the two companies would be able to work together again in the future.

NG Bailey said it was “extremely disappointed” that Morrisons wanted to suspend the 30-year relationship. Morrisons is the first client to drop the firm.

Earlier this week the contractor said it had identified the workers who had carried out the stunts.

It said it was interviewing those involved and continuing the enquiry with a subcontractor that it is refusing to name. The contractor said one of the men was directly employed by NG Bailey and the rest worked for the subcontractor.

The controversy concerns footage that xappeared on the YouTube website of the workers acting out stunts including setting light to each other and diving head first into liquid concrete. In some of the videos, they were seen wearing jackets bearing the NG Bailey logo.