Unite HQ raided as police probe hotel construction costs

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Unite the Union’s office successful London were raided by constabulary this week successful narration to a fiscal transgression probe involving the operation of a edifice and league centre successful Birmingham.

Sky News reported that betwixt 15 and 20 officers were progressive successful the hunt of the bureau gathering successful Holborn (pictured), and near with boxes of documents and a computer.

The raid was a associated cognition by South Wales Police and the UK's taxation authority, HMRC. A spokesperson for the unit said it had carried retired the hunt to analyse allegations of bribery, fraud and wealth laundering.

In 2016, Unite appointed Flanagan Group to physique a 170-bed edifice successful Birmingham called the Unite Hotel and Conference Centre. Construction costs for the task proceeded to emergence by £41m, resulting successful a £98m build, which was completed successful December 2020.

The union’s then-general caput Len McCluskey told a gathering of the Unite enforcement assembly successful January 2021 that costs had risen due to the fact that of its abidance to national protocol, which meant employing workers who had national membership, avoiding the engagement of firms that had a past of blacklisting, straight employing workers and paying them astatine slightest nationalist wage rates. The union’s enforcement committee concluded that the straight employed labour, precocious operation costs successful Birmingham and a alteration successful task scope pushed up the price.

In April 2021, Labour MP Neil Coyle, besides a subordinate of the union, questioned the mismanagement of funds for the edifice task and called for an inquiry. In December, recently appointed wide caput Sharon Graham launched the investigation.

Unite the Union is 1 of the largest commercialized unions successful the UK with 1.2 cardinal members, including workers from the operation industry. The Birmingham task nether scrutiny included a Marriott-branded hotel, league space, acquisition centre and offices for the union.

A Unite spokesperson said: “A Unite worker is taxable to a transgression probe by the police. On Wednesday 6 April, the employee’s bureau astatine Unite HQ successful Holborn, London, was accessed and searched by the constabulary nether warrant.”

South Wales Police said that successful summation to London, warrants were handed retired successful South Wales and the police-force areas of Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales, Dyfed-Powys and Northamptonshire.