The recruitment company, Atlanco Rimec Group (ARG), is blacklisting trade unionists and union members, their collaborators, as well as people who have reported the company to the work inspection offices. Atlanco records also include notes and comments of a more private nature. Employees are, forexample, labelled as having mental problems or a bad attitude.
NB. The quotes in this article are retrieved from Atlanco records. They represent only a small selection of data from a directory including several thousands of Atlanco Rimec workers. The names of the workers are fictitious.
In August 2008, Atlanco employees working for Alstom at the Langage Power plant construction went on strike. According to Atlanco one man was single-handedly responsible for organising the strike. We can call him Stewart. Atlanco write: “This guy is the absolute worst category of trouble maker you could possibly find. He is a union representative and very militant. He was the main cause of the strike in Langage on the 7th August. I would never reemploy person again.”
The customer, Alstom, was upset with the striking workers, and requested that they were removed.
“They were brought to Langage to work on Monday the 4th Aug and 3 days later Alstom decided that they all should be removed from site.” Sixteen workers, including Stewart, lost their jobs.
“As a group they were easily led by Stewart. However i genuinely believe that these 15 could be good workers.”
Boguchwai, a Polishman who also worked for Alstom at Langage, was not involved in the strike. In the company database Atlanco had classified his skills as “Excellent”. Later, in January 2009, when he became team leader for an Atlanco job at the Felguera Montajes y Manteinimiento company in Spain, the records suddenly told a very different story. He was never to be employed by Atlanco again: “No. Not a reliable person. Contacted unions.”
Another Polishman,Waldemar, also began his career working for Atlanco at Alstom in England. He worked there for a total of eight months. In 2009, he was leased to NCC, the Swedish construction and property development company, during the construction of the Borealis project in Stenungsund, Sweden. A few months later he was fired. All of a sudden the records include new information, information about him having a drinking problem. Atlanco will not re-hire him: “No, worker was involved in Unions strugles, turning other workers against Rimec.”
“No, never ever again. This worker couses a lot of troubles.” It is clear that Waldemar’ s involvement in union activities had cost him his job, since previous records describe Waldemar as a ” good worker.”
One of Waldemar’ s Polish co-workers, Kazmer, worked at Borealis from February to August, 2009. The records state that he is a “good worker”, but he is found not to be re-hirable. “No, never to be employed by Rimec again. He joined Unions and was turning other workers against Rimec.”
Several other workers at Borealis, for example Adam (Poland) will never work for Atlanco again: “No, involved in Unions. Turning other workers against Rimec.”
The same goes for Czezlaw (Poland): “No. Left without notice. Involved in the Union and turned the other workers against Rimec. No. He will never be employed by Rimec again.”
A third example is Tomasz, who quit his job at Boralies quite early on: “He left without notice and made lots of problems on site regarding unions activities against ARG.”
And the job offers from Atlanco stop coming: “Never ever, awoid in the future. He was involved in Unions struggles, turning other workers against us.”
Cibor is described as a troublemaker:
“Never ever, awoid in the future. He was involved in Unions strugles, turning other workers against us.”
and Egidiusz as:
“No, involved in Unions. Turning other workers against Rimec.”
The customer, NCC, was happy with Atlanco’ s work and chose the company for the staffing of the power plant construction, Hissmofors in Östersund, Sweden. Florian had been working with the construction of the nuclear power plant Flamanville in France, a job he did well according to Atlanco’ s notes and he was contracted by the company for another six month on a job at Hissmofors. Florian was subsequently fired: “No. Talks to unions and tries to find problems unnecessairly.”
Dobry, from Poland was on his third job when he was fired. Previously, he had been working with the construction of the nuclear power plant Flamanville in France, an Atlanco project which ended abruptly. The Nuclear Power Inspectorate discovered that Atlanco did not pay any payroll tax in France. Hence, the company was kicked out. When Dobry is leased to NCC for the construction of the Hendi House in Denmark, his employment only lasts for a month (from mid-July to mid-August, 2011).
He will not get another job with Atlanco: “No, Turning people against us with union co-operations.”
Once again, it is the collaboration with the unions that determines the service records, not his skills (which are noted the period before as “Excellent”).
Jan can be described as a faithful old servant who finally had enough. He started working for Atlanco Rimec in 2007, and works for several sessions in Germany. But, in Denmark, he decides to leave. The reason being, according to Atlanco notes, is that he is “Dissatisfied with job ”.
Will he be employed in a new project?
“No, turning other workers against ARG with union cooperation. ”
Many workers who were leased to NCC for the Hendi House project no longer work for Atlanco Rimec. Having experience of being a team leader on several Atlanco jobs, as Peter had, is of no importance. There are no more job offers:
“No, Turning people against us with union co-operations. ”
Holleb worked as a leased Plumber for the Missenard Quint B Suresnes company in France. According to Atlanco records he found the work environment unsatisfactory and complained to “work inspection”. He will not be re-hired: “No. He did troubles after be sacked.”
The same thing happened to Jędrek, who got the same “reviews” in the Atlanco database.
Attitude Problems and Mental Issues
Union collaboration is not the only thing that Atlanco Rimec record in their database, they also register attitude and ‘mental’ issues and alcohol problems. About Flawiusz, another Polishman who was leased to Nichol McKay Prestwick in England for seven months, and who, in 2012 took Atlanco Rimec to court, they wrote: “No – Very agressive towards the end of emplyment. Put case to tribunal against us.”
In the Atlanco database numerous workers are labelled as having “bad attitude”, sometimes with additional comments: “The client did not want him (bad attitude).”
Even if a worker is skilled, attitude determines whether or not there will be another job offer:
“No. Skilled welder, but attitude problems.”
Here are some other examples:
“Good Steelfixer skills, but poor attitude and troublemaker”
“Not to re-employ again. Worker has issues with attitude towards our company and work.”
In the records, many workers are labelled as suffering from mental illness or having “mental problems”. However, looking at the records, the most common “label” is “drinking problem”.
Here are some examples:
“No, caused lot of troubles in accommodation, mostly under influence of alcohol.”
“never employ any more – alcohol, drogs, very complicated attitude!!!”
“No, too many absence/alcohol, mental problems. ”
“no, because of his conduct out of work – destroyed car, alcohol problems ”
“very good foreman although problems with alcohol. ”
“fired by foreman, drinking on the site after half day of work!!! ”
One worker is said to have poor hygiene: “… so dirty that I was called by the client on site to explain him basic rules.”
Notes are also made if someone is suspected of theft or has a record of being arrested. Here are some examples: “involved in steeling electric tools and many other construction materials from site on regular basis.”
“thief, stole money from foreman.”
“Arrested by the Police for drink driving.”
“…shoplifting, arrested by French gendarmery…”
Atlanco also comment on several other issues. For example, if a worker has demanded a pay raise (the sum is sometimes specified), or if someone is a little too old for his job, or if there is a medical problem – sometimes these are written down and specified:
“Problems with one eye”.
And, if you happen to be in a prohibited relationship, it could, as happened with Carlos who had a relation with a depot manager, be put in the records. The love affair was the reason for Carlos being fired by Atlanco.
Atlanco’s database include information about the names of the workers, time frames for various projects, hiring customer, occupation, reasons for terminating employment, possibilities of re-hiring (If answer is No, reasons should be specified), etc. The workers are then evaluated and graded according to the following criteria: Ability, Attendance, Time-keeping and Attitude, using the following levels: below average, average, good, and excellent.
Comments from Atlanco Rimec
Atlanco Rimec have denied that they blacklist workers because they are members of a trade union.
The company stated:
”Atlanco does not in any way monitor union membership of employees nor does it discriminate against any workers that wish to be active in a union. Atlanco employs many happy workers who are re-hired again and again. Atlanco fully respects union membership and the work that unions do.”
The information from Stoppafusket is, according to Atlanco: “some random quotes from a source that cannot be authenticated and which you are not sharing.”
The company does confirm, however, that it notes other things about the workers. Stoppafusket put the following questions to Atlanco Rimec and their answers are below:
In your documents Atlanco Rimec also writes other things about the workers. For example, alcoholic, bad attitude, mental problems, dirty, do drugs, arrested, thief. Why does Atlanco Rimec do that? Why are these factors important to note on a register?
Atlanco Rimec has a duty to provide a safe work environment and provide quality workmanship with the relevant skillset when selecting workers for projects.
According to your own documents Atlanco Rimec also rate the workers. Their ability, attendance, time-keeping and attitude are rated on levels: below average, average, good and excellent. Why?
The company provides secure employment for a large number of workers, many of whom have been with the company for a long number of years taking up repeat contracts. Atlanco Rimec provides highly skilled workers to its clients and to maintain these high standards – like any other company – must be aware of workers’ ability, attendance and time-keeping. Such basic performance-related information, essential in any company, maintains a quality workforce consisting of workers that meet the quality standards of the company.