Blacklist law won’t end ‘despicable’ practice

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.

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