The talks follow August’s failed attempt to force Walker’s resignation by a number of CSCS board members. A motion to remove him failed to pass after Walker used his casting vote as chairman to tie the ballot and save himself.
CSCS chief executive Brian Adams, who is stepping down at Christmas, voted to support Walker, along with three union representatives and the clients’ group board member.
But CM has learned the unions may withdraw their support in return for a commitment from Walker’s opposers that they will develop the current CSCS card amid speculation that the UK Contractors Group wants to abandon it for its own scheme.
A source close to the row said: “Those opposed to Walker could meet with a sympathetic ear if they are committed to developing the CSCS card. The card needs to be much more rigorous in its health and safety requirements, for example, and if there is a commitment to that I suspect the unions will support the rebels. But any talk of establishing a new card when the current one has over a million users is a non-starter.”
UKCG chief executive Stephen Ratcliffe declined to comment on whether his organisation will set up an alternative skill card and refused to confirm upcoming talks with construction unions. He said: “We’re working very hard to resolve the situation. The UKCG is fully committed to having a card scheme that has the full support of all the industry.”