May 22 2013 Latest news:
Chloë Mayer, Senior Reporter
Thursday, June 7, 2012
A builder has been sacked, and several others reprimanded, after the Gazette exposed the shocking sexual harassment of numerous women by workmen outside Stoke Newington railway station.
Horrified commuter John Park, 29, witnessed a workman “miming a sexual attack” on a woman after the builders leered at her as she walked past.
“We all know wolf-whistling goes on, but I’d never seen anything approaching this level of abuse by workmen,” Mr Park said after the incident two weeks ago.
A subsequent investigation by the Gazette revealed a disturbing pattern of obscene behaviour by the Hall Bros employees, who were contracted to work on the station’s forecourt in Stoke Newington High Street by Network Rail.
Other victims included our photographer Carmen Valino, 31, who was targeted by the workers catcalling to her and mimicking sexual acts while she waited nearby for a colleague, and commuter Ivana Iados, a 32-year-old gallery assistant, who was subjected to smutty remarks as she went into the station.
A Network Rail spokeswoman said the company would not tolerate “derogatory” behaviour from its contractors, while Hall Bros bosses held an emergency board meeting after they were informed of the allegations by the Gazette, and vowed to investigate thoroughly and sack the perpetrators.
A spokesman for the company said this week: “As a consequence of your bringing it to our attention, each of the sub-contractors employed on this project were individually interviewed regarding the allegations made.
“Our investigation identified one individual whose behaviour could be said to have crossed the line of acceptability and he was, as you were advised anyone would be, immediately dismissed.”
There had been allegations the workmen had also made racist taunts, but the spokesman said no evidence of racism was found. The investigation revealed some of the workmen had behaved well, he added, and often helped commuters carry prams up and down the stairs.
But others were found to have behaved inappropriately, and he said: “Those contractors whose conduct may have been questionable but did not, in our view, attain a level of social unacceptability, and certainly not on the scale of the individual dismissed, were given severe warnings as to their future conduct.”