Company shortlisted for tram extension in trade union row

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A COMPANY at the centre of a blacklisting controversy has been included on the shortlist of contractors to build the £165m tram extension to Newhaven.

Trade unions claim construction firm BAM, which is building the new V&A Museum in Dundee, has a history of blacklisting. The company was linked to The Consulting Association (TCA), which compiled a list of more than 3000 mainly building workers.

An Edinburgh tram

An Edinburgh tram

But the company insists it does not engage in blacklisting. And a statement on its website says: “BAM apologises unreservedly for our previous, limited involvement in the TCA.”

BAM is involved in a joint bid with Colas Rail. The four-strong shortlist also includes Spanish infrastructure giant Dragados, which worked on the Queensferry Crossing; a joint venture of Farrans, who worked on the original tramline, with Spanish firm Sacyr and rail builders Neopul; and Sisk Steconfer, who worked on an extension of the Dublin tram system.

All four will be invited to tender for a contract which includes the design and construction of all track, overhead line, tram stops, road infrastructure and public realm between York Place and Newhaven. A final decision on the project is due in late 2018.

Labour councillor Scott Arthur said: “All the evidence suggests the best way to deliver projects on time and on budget is to ensure the workers delivering them have fair pay and conditions. The tram extension will be a flagship project for our Capital, and the employment conditions should reflect that.”

The council said it condemned unfair employment practices but accepted BAM’s assurances its use of such practices was in the past.