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Calls for Welsh Government to cut ties with ‘disgusting’ construction firm working at Velindre site

29 May 2024 4 minute read
Construction firm Prichard’s is carrying out work at the Velindre site in Cardiff.

Emily Price

Campaigners have called for the Welsh Government to cut ties with a soil removal firm working at a hospital site which has liked and shared upsetting and graphic content on social media.

Prichard’s is currently carrying out earth works at the Velindre Cancer Care site in the Whitchurch district of Cardiff.

The £835m Welsh Government funded project will be a “world-class” NHS facility delivering care of the “highest standard” for cancer patients across south Wales.

It’s already proven controversial with communities, environmental campaigners and clinicians due to it being built on the Northern Meadows green space.

Residents and campaigners have raised further concerns this week about the involvement of family-run construction supplier, Prichard’s.

The Llantrisant based firm regularly shares updates on X, formerly Twitter, of the various construction projects it works on as well as images of its fleet of branded lorries and diggers.

But the Prichard’s X account has also liked graphic, racist, misogynistic and fascist content which has been branded “disgusting” by local residents.

Beaten

Offensive posts going back many months include, “10 reasons why we can’t stand Meghan Markle”, derogatory comments about non-binary singer Sam Smith and posts from the National Housing Party UK – which has been labelled a Nazi, Fascist and Ethnonationalist party by extremist experts Hope Not Hate.

One highly graphic video liked by Prichard’s account shows a man being beaten until blood is pouring out of his head with the caption: “Barbaric and sickening attack the MSM won’t report on because the victim is white & attacker is BAME. The media are anti-white.”

Prichard’s says the posts were due to a “malicious external breach” of their social media platforms.

The firm has since disabled both its Facebook page and X account.

Posts liked by Prichard’s on social media.

Investigation

The Acorn consortium, comprising of Sacyr, Kajima Partnerships and Aberdeen, is responsible for the design, construction, financing and maintenance of the new cancer hospital.

Both Sacyr and Velindre University NHS Trust says they are investigating the social media activity of Prichard’s

A Sacyr spokesperson said: “As an organisation that is committed to diversity and inclusion, Sacyr does not condone any racist, misogynist, fascist or transphobic behaviour.

“We are dedicated to providing a safe and inclusive workplace for all, and as such, will be carrying out a full investigation into the social media activity referenced.”

A Velindre spokesman said: “We have reviewed the content highlighted to us which does not align with our values or the standards Velindre upholds.

“We take these allegations seriously and are committed to ensuring that all contractors we engage with adhere to principles of respect, inclusivity, and integrity.”

The Save the Northern Meadows campaign group have called for the Welsh Government to intervene and suspend Prichard’s contract with Velindre immediately.

Shocked

A spokesperson for the campaign group said: “We are shocked beyond words that a company funded by the Welsh Government through the new Velindre MIM contract should be liking tweets which have such unpleasant content.

“These tweets are surely misogynistic bullying and designed to create racial tension. Hope not Hate tags one of the organisation’s whose tweet Prichards liked as ‘Nazi, Fascist and Ethnonationalist.’

“We demand that the Ministers who approved and funded the new Velindre contract immediately suspend this contract while they investigate what has gone wrong.

“We repeatedly asked Welsh Government Ministers not to approve the new Velindre MIM contract until the Senedd Public Accounts Committee and the Auditor General for Wales had completed their investigations into this MIM contract.

“We were particularly concerned that Velindre Trust had chosen to award the contract to 2 companies convicted of bid-rigging, Kajima and Sacyr.

“Instead these Ministers rushed to approve the contract within 8 days of Vaughan Gething being appointed as First Minister, and before the Senedd scrutiny of Welsh Government had been completed.

“And now Sacyr have appointed Prichard’s to carry out work on the new Velindre construction site. None of this is acceptable to us as ordinary people.”

The Welsh Government declined to comment.

A Prichard’s spokesperson said: “We have suspended all social media accounts immediately pending an investigation into what appears to be a malicious external breach on our social media platform. Prichard’s in no way support or condone the behaviour or comments referenced below.

“Prichard’s is committed to providing services which embrace diversity and which promote equality of opportunity. As an employer we are also committed to equality and valuing diversity within our workforce. Our goal is to ensure that these commitments, reinforced by our Values, are embedded in our day to day working practices with all our customers, colleagues and partners.”


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John Ellis
John Ellis
4 days ago

‘The firm has since disabled both its Facebook page and X account.’

Wise move. Maybe their next step should be to investigate how and by whom the comments were posted. Emphatically not the sort of thing which is good for business!

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