The main Health and Safety inspector attending the scene told Glasgow Sheriff Court that the lorry tail-lift that killed Dr Graham Meldrum at Allied Bakeries Glasgow depot in July 2005 was not operational. The lorry should not have been on the road, he stated. The Fatal Accident Inquiry into Dr Meldrum’s workplace death started its fifth week on 11th August, and heard damning evidence of corporate disregard for workers’ safety.
The health and safety inspector testified that there was long-standing corrosion in the lorry’s tail-lift, and that there were missing pins, brackets, and springs. Little or no maintenance had been carried out. Dr Meldrum was killed when crushed by this faulty tail lift on 12 July 2005.
Further evidence revealed that other companies colluded in this corrupt and shoddy culture. Zurich Insurance inspected the vehicles but ignored these obvious vital safety faults. Ryder had the responsibility for repairing the vehicles, but only carried out repairs they were ordered to do, ignoring most of the blatant faults.
Graham’s partner Karen Thomson told Indymedia Scotland : “If this Fatal Accident Inquiry had been prior to the prosecution then the array of charges would have been much more and the likes of Mr Keith Thompson (Allied Bakeries manager) would face individual criminal charges.” (Both Allied Bakeries/ ABF Grains and TNT Logistics UK were found guilty of safety breaches in connection with Dr Meldrum’s death, but received only paltry fines of £19,500 and £14,000. Graham’s employers, Suzyline agency, were not prosecuted.)
Karen herself testified at the resumed FAI. She told us : “ I gave evidence and reminded them all that we are talking about a man, that had got lost a bit. I also spoke of him working for Workers co-op Green City for 16 years as opposed to using his PHD in chemistry, because he couldn’t accept the lack of morals of big businesss and their refusal to take any responsibility for their actions against individuals, communities and the earth. I felt shattered afterwards but this was my justice.”
The companies involved are now starting to blame each other for Dr Meldrum’s death. Karen Thomson described the latest developments at the Fatal Accident Inquiry:
“ We are starting to see the unholy alliances disintegrate, the in-fighting, the swipes, the lawyers constantly conferring with their clients, the desperate scramble for damage limitation (in their economic terms). “
“We have had the lawyer for TNT insinuate that Graham’s now accepted lack of training wouldn’t have made any difference to his death cause it was the ABF Grains vehicles and they were not maintained. We have had ABF Grains saying that the missing parts, the corrosion etc was bypassed and the drivers making do was actually better for them because it was less work??? Both these major companies keep finding bits of evidence at the last moment. This isn’t about truth, justice(?) or lessons to be learnt, this is about who pays what.”
MURDERED FOR PROFIT
“The way I feel now in some ways is still grateful, grateful for who Graham was, his principles, his humour, his love for this our earth and all her inhabitants, his love for me and the girls and I’m still grateful that we are who we are and not them. I wouldn’t want to be as inhumane as cold and calculating, to be only concerned with economics, the pursuit of profit and to fuck with any consequences. We all have to look in the mirror and one day the mirror will show it all. “
“Yet again I feel that this is in their world, their idea of justice and I don’t want any part of it. As long as we are seen as their property, as long as they change things, make up things etc to suit their pocket then we will die and be maimed. Whatever I say here whatever I think , it is nothing to the very very sore personal loss my children and I feel but we also accept that we were once very lucky.“
“ I am convinced that my beautiful Graham was murdered for profit, he wasn’t the first and he wont be the last. My fight goes on.”
The Graham Meldrum memorial Campaign was formed by Graham’s family and friends and has campaigned for three years. They describe their struggle:
“We have fought for and won a prosecution and then a fatal accident inquiry. We have effectively taken on global giants ABF Grains (Allied Bakeries, Primark, Pataks, Twinnings, British Sugar etc – check their website for further details – and feel free to message these companies!!!) ) and TNT and at the same time highlighted the biased unjust machine we call prosecution services.
“The public enquiry into the Stockline Disaster in Glasgow is currently underway and the 20th Anniversary of the Piper Alpha Disaster where oil giants got away with mass murder. So the killing of workers with no repercussion except for the families isn’t new. It’s awards for enterprise for them and grief, loss, poverty and the whole weight of the law for us. “
“In the face of this we have rediscovered each other, our courage, our spirits, our love for Graham and our love for justice… real justice not just monetary justice. A special mention has been given to Graham’s parents David and Lisa Meldrum for their CONSTANT appearance at court. “
“Undoubtedly what we are doing is something we will have to discuss further. We won prosecution, we won a fatal accident inquiry, a small band of people with love on their side can change things but what of justice?”
PLEA FOR SOLIDARITY
The Fatal Accident Inquiry resumes at Glasgow Sheriff Court on 15th September, and will probably run at least for all that week. Karen Thomson told Indymedia Scotland:
“This is a plea to all to come to court with us, an hour here or there. A chance for your good heart and shiny face to counteract the dark and powerful suits. You will never know how important it is to see good faces in that court where nightmares come true. Thank you for continued love and support. Thank you, Karen, “Graham Meldrum Memorial Campaign””
Graham Meldrum Memorial Campaign
gmmc [at] hotmail [dot] co [dot] uk http://www.myspace.com/gmmemorialcampaign
IWW Independent revolutionary union – http://www.iww.org.uk
The Hazards Campaign – a network of resource centres and campaigners on health and safety at work http://www.hazardscampaign.org.uk
The Simon Jones Memorial Campaign http://www.simonjones.org.uk
Families Against Corporate Killers http://www.fack.org.uk
REPORT ON EARLIER HEARING OF FATAL ACCIDENT INQUIRY http://scotland.indymedia.org/node/10767