Tangled web of sanctions
If you've noticed an error in this article please click here to report it so we can fix it.
A CLOAK OF secrecy surrounded the Government's sanction placed on West Midlands haulier T. Baker & Sons Ltd this week after a contract Bakers had with the Ministry of Defence was cancelled by the Government.
The contract to haul motor spares for the Ministry was taken away from Bakers because the firm negotiated a 15 per cent wage increase with its drivers.
But news leaked out that the Government was having to pay more for the service being operated by another haulage firm in the West Midlands — Davis & O'Brien Ltd of Cradeley Heath, Warley.
A spokesman for the Road Haulage Association admitted to CM that Davis & O'Brien is also a fully paid up member of the RHA, and that such a turn of events was very worrying.
A spokesman for RHA hauliers in the West Midlands said that although Davis & O'Brien had been a member of the RHA for the last three years, it was not a member of the West Midlands Haulage Agreement.
It also understood that the company, having accepted the Government offer of a contract with the MoD, has been under heavy pressure from the transport unions not to carry out the work.
At the time of going to press CM was unable to contact a spokesman for Davis & O'Brien.
According to the spokesman for the West Midlands hauliers, the reason behind four hauliers being picked out and placed on the Government blacklist is because they were all involved in containerbase pay negotiations.
Traditionally these negotiations take place earlier in the year than general haulage pay deals, and the containerbases were the first to be scrutinised by the Treasury and Department of Employment.
And angry negotiators in the West Midlands who are invited to London to meet Government officials to discuss the containerbase deals never say again will they cooperate with the Government in this way.
Their spokesman told CM: -We met the officials, including Government ministers in an open and frank way. We discussed every part of the deals with them hoping for assistance from the officials in sorting out the pay negotiations.
"They were no help at all, and all we got in response to our efforts to co-operate with them was to have our confidence in them thrown back in our faces."