CARILLION has concluded its investigation into a collective grievance submitted by workers at the Great Western Hospital and has found ‘serious shortfalls’ in the behaviour of a number of employees.
The investigation, which involved several hundred man-hours in staff interviews and additional investigations, was carried out after a collective grievance was submitted by 132 members of staff in December.
Carillion has spent the past five months looking into allegations that one junior manager had been ‘intimidating and threatening’ Goan employees and restrictions on taking more than two weeks annual leave at once, affecting the ability of Goan employees to travel to Goa.
During the investigation, individuals also alleged that they had given and received gifts or cash in return for advantages such as jobs, favourable hours or annual leave requests.
The investigation found that there was inappropriate behaviour by a junior manager, but this behaviour was not confined to Goan workers, nor was it directed specifically at them. The manager no longer works for Carillion at the GWH.
Evidence that the practice of gift-giving, a recognised aspect of Goan culture, also came to light during the investigation and Carillion has said that although limited to a small number of individuals, it is likely to have taken place.
Gemma Lynch, Carillion Facilities General Manager at GWH, said she was concerned at the outcome.
“I am very concerned to have uncovered some serious lapses in individual behaviour which have fallen far short of the standards and values for which Carillion stands. Fortunately, such instances are limited to a small number of individuals.
“We have been very concerned to be told of instances of racist behaviour although this was confined to a small number of individuals. We will not tolerate any member of staff behaving in such a manner.
“Following previous management attempts to address gift-giving in Swindon, I myself took the decision to ban gift giving of any kind in the workplace other than for special events.
“I have also stressed that any collections for such special events had to be registered and approved by me and that donations are entirely voluntary. These measures are both firmly in place.
“We will not allow the few, but serious, issues which our investigation has uncovered to lie there.
“Our next priority will be to respond to all those who raised additional individual concerns as part of the process.”
Gemma said the investigation had cleared up any confusion about extended holidays. She said there is no ban, but as with any sensitive facility such as a hospital, operational requirements remain a key factor in agreeing leave with members of staff. To date, 85 per cent of extended holiday requests received have been approved.
Despite the investigation being concluded, the GMB union representing the workers has declared another day of industrial action to be taken on Monday to coincide with their Brighton Congress.
“This is irresponsible and seems to be aimed at disrupting the communication of our investigation’s findings back to the staff,” said Gemma.
“Rest assured, we will take disciplinary action wherever it is appropriate to do so. However, it is not just a matter of sanctions, and we will institute a full programme of training for all staff to reiterate Carillion’s core values and policies.
“We hope these findings will draw a line under a dispute that has divided our staff and threatened workplace harmony.”