Construction union UCATT says it has won a delay in the implementation of a blacklisting law, after raising concerns about the adequacy of the measures.
The union says it wrote to and contacted directly members of the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments, expressing “grave concerns” about the proposed law. It says when the committee met on 20 January to consider the regulations, a decision was made to delay ratifying the regulations for a week, as the committee were concerned that the proposals do not comply with human rights obligations.
UCATT general secretary Alan Ritchie said: “The pause in the parliamentary process is welcome. Outlawing blacklisting is a fundamental issue for UCATT. The government now has the opportunity to rethink and redraft regulations which as they stand are entirely inadequate to stamp out blacklisting.”
The union wants the law amended to make blacklisting a criminal offence and for a wider definition of the “trade union activities” falling in the scope of the measures. It also wants workers to be told automatically if their details are discovered to be on an illegal blacklist.
Construction union UCATT has said it is ‘deeply disappointed’ with the UK government’s ‘fundamentally flawed’ blacklisting regulations.
The union had told ministers the regulations as originally drafted would not end blacklisting and had hoped the government would revise the proposed law, but this has not happened.
UCATT says the regulations fail to make blacklisting a criminal offence, despite the government in 1999 promising to introduce such measures. It adds the regulations only cover the limited definition of “trade union activities” and specifically rule out protecting workers involved in “unofficial industrial action” from being blacklisted.
UCATT is also concerned that, under the regulations as they stand, “workers who downed tools due to safety concerns or who refused to undertake overtime, could be legally blacklisted”. Many of the 3,000-plus construction workers listed on industry blacklist uncovered last year were targeted for their safety activities.
The regulations also fail to provide automatic compensation for any blacklisted worker and workers on a blacklist are not entitled to be automatically informed of the fact, the union adds.
UCATT has also expressed dismay that in certain circumstances companies will still be legally able to draw up lists of trade unionists for recruitment practices, something it dubs “backdoor blacklisting”.
UCATT general secretary Alan Ritchie said: “The blacklisting regulations are fundamentally flawed. It is deeply disappointing that the government has failed to listen to the genuine concerns of trade unionists and have failed to make the appropriate amendments to the regulations.”
The regulations were laid before parliament on 5 January. They need to be agreed by both Houses of Parliament before they can be enacted into law.