Former sports minister Tony Banks and Jim Fitzpatrick, chair of the Labour party’s London branch, have asked Bovis to investigate claims made by George Fuller, an employee of brickwork contractor Irvine Whitlock and a UCATT member, that he was threatened by his foreman while investigating a safety incident. In a report sent to Fitzpatrick, Fuller draws attention to several alleged breaches of safety on the site and claims that he was given a number of written warnings by Irvine Whitlock for time keeping after his complaints to site management.
In a letter to Irvine Whitlock dated 7 October, Fitzpatrick said: “I must express my concern at receiving the report, as Canary Wharf is the most prestigious project in the country. I assumed that the highest standards of health and safety would apply and co-operation with recognised safety representatives would be the norm.” In a letter to Fuller dated 4 November, Banks said he would ask Bovis about Fuller’s claims.
Fuller, 54, alleges that the Irvine Whitlock site foreman threatened him on two occasions and swore at him. He said neither Bovis nor Irvine Whitlock took his safety role seriously.
A spokesman for Bovis said: “We have carried out an investigation into Mr Fuller’s allegation into safety lapses and didn’t find any of them to be substantiated. With regard to the incident with Irvine Whitlock, it is for them to deal with.”
Geoff Irvine, director of Irvine Whitlock, said: “I gave Mr Fuller a verbal apology [for the way the foreman had spoken to him] and was assured by UCATT that that was the end of the matter.” He denied that Fuller had been victimised.
However, UCATT health and safety official Chris Tiff, said: “The matter is far from resolved. Bovis project manager Frank Reed asked us to write saying the matter is closed, but it isn’t until we get a written apology from Irvine Whitlock.”