Blacklist Support Group statement

The Blacklist Support Group raises a glass to salute the work of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee.

Blacklisted workers have put up with decades of mud slinging, excuses and outright lies from the construction firms. The Select Committee interim report, published in 16 April, cuts through all the “verbal gymnastics” and using parliamentary language both exposes the human rights conspiracy and pours scorn on the pathetic excuses of those who ran the illegal blacklist.
The so-called captains of industry are in complete denial. Even with mountains of evidence they refuse to admit their guilt. They are like the News International at the beginning of the phone hacking scandal.
Blacklisted workers applaud the Select Committee interim report but just like phone hacking, the full story of the human rights abuse by big business and undoubted police collusion will only be exposed in a full Leverson style pubic inquiry.
Anyone who bothers to look knows that blacklisting still continues today: on Crossrail the evidence is blatant.
So long as blacklisted workers are denied jobs to support our families  the weasel words of the multi-nationals are worthless. The interim report is a big step forward but the campaign for justice continues.

The Blacklist Support Group demand:

  • A full public apology
  • Compensation for blacklisted workers
  • No public contracts for blacklisting firms
  • Jobs for blacklisted workers on major projects

Extracts from the Scottish Affairs Select Committee below:

For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to make it absolutely clear that we believe, on the evidence that we have seen so far, that the process of blacklisting by a secret and unaccountable process was and is morally indefensible and that those firms and individuals involved in operating the system should have known this.
We are far from certain that all of our witnesses have told us ‘the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth’, despite many of them being under oath.
We firmly believe that the issue of blacklisting is an important one and requires wider scrutiny than can be pursued by specific legal actions.
It is very clear to us that the service which the Consulting Association offered was a blacklisting one: that is, subscriber companies put information into and took information out of a database, and they used the information on that database to make decisions about whether or not to employ certain individuals. We concede that the legislative framework meant this was not initially illegal, and it was a service which the Economic League had performed for many years—but by the end of TCA’s life it certainly was illegal and all those involved should have know that. We consider it unethical, and to be condemned. We do not accept the argument made in self justification that blacklisting did not occur because people were not automatically excluded from employment. This is evasive wordplay.
We find the ICO’s justification for leaving behind the vast majority of documents at TCA’s office unconvincing. We accept that the ICO was concerned that the warrant which it had obtained was limited in scope, but we regret that more documents were not seized. Even if the Consulting Association is now defunct, there remains the possibility that its activities could have been more widespread than has so far come to light. .
Another problem, demonstrated by Dave Smith’s employment tribunal against Carillion, is that employers seem to be able to evade responsibility for the employees of subcontractors. This seems, prima facie, deeply unfair. If a company discriminates against a worker on the basis of data improperly (let alone inaccurately) held, that company should be liable for any loss of earnings suffered. We recommend that the Government reviews this as a matter of urgency.

Postscript: Unions have welcomed the report

GMB general secretary Paul Kenny said: “What we see here in the plain light of day are major construction companies involved in shifty, unethical, dishonest practices for which they seem totally unable to apologise and take responsibility.”

The Unite union said the committee had “begun to shine a light on the dark side of the construction industry”.

General secretary Len McCluskey said: “Unite firmly believes blacklisting continues and the only way to eradicate this morally indefensible practice is to strengthen legislation against blacklisting to give the law real teeth.”

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  1. John
    Posted 22 April, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Actually the focus on the construction Black Listing isn’t helping those in other sectors.
    I work in Higher Education, where H.R. practice is shoddy at best, and illegal data collation and sharing by line managers outside of H.R. control’s is common place.
    To find one’s self on file in an illegally held file, with unsubstanciated (sp?) comments and slurs, at least in part motivated by my T.U. activities, and supposed ‘witness statements’ by other anti-union employee’s is not a pleasant experience. The manager concerned however, being supported by other managers, and leading academic’s is beyond any chance of prosecution, the whole collection of files having been shredded on the orders of H.R. when they became aware of it, though I suspect he kept copies at home even then.
    Black Listing is far more wide spread, and something that needs to be clearly stopped, not just in the construction industry!

  2. David Betteridge
    Posted 14 October, 2013 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    Hats off to you guy’s for carrying the fight forward. I no longer feel alone.
    I’ve spent 50 years in construction with 25 years as site manager-setting out engineer and clerk of works and health & safety should be the top priority on any site. In all my years in construction management; I’ve never had an ambulance on my site, it’s not hard
    I was blacklisted on the Byker wall project in 1976 because I refused to sack someone who was on the blacklist. Not all people on the blacklist are there because of health and safety concerns! What about the miner’s the steel worker’s the nurses the teacher’s the docker’s the firemen, many of them blacklisted for standing up agianst closures and privatization of their industries.
    How many people have asked the question “Why do they have a blacklist” It certainly isn’t for immediate profits!
    Ever since the inception of the nationalised industries and services; corporations have wanted them back, that’s what the blacklist is about, everyone who would stand up and say “NO” had to be taken out of the equation to enable the smooth transition from public to private. That’s where the big profits are and thats why the government, the police and the security forces are involved. Don’t put your trust, aspirations or hopes in anyone!
    I wrote my first book 17 years ago, it started out as an expose’ of the blacklist but it ended up taking many directions, I likend the whole thing to a field of mushrooms; all the mushrooms seem like individual plant but thay are all connected by tiny filiments underground and are all the same plant.
    At that time I wrote the book I estimated that the number of people on the list was between 1.5 and 2 million. Not everyone on the blacklist is unemployed, many of them are in work and put up with the harrassment or demotion to meanial tasks or spurious attempts at constructive dismissal; knowing that once unemployed; work will be hard to come by.
    The point I’m trying to make is “You have to look past the obvious, the blacklist isn’t an entity which stands alone, it’s part of a larger picture”. Larger than privatisation but you have to look past the corperate media.
    Most of the people on the blacklist I’ve met over the years while helping the miner’s the teacher’s the liverpool docker’s the firemen and nurses are people who were good at thier jobs, they didn’t have to brownose to keep thier employment. All these companies have left now are those who are easy led easy fed placid yesmen. They shot themselve’s in the foot, Balfour Beatty are a fine example of inept management always behind in thier contracts, nothing fits where it should, they use spurious health and safety issues to hold subbies up because they cannot give them the work areas at the correct contract times.
    The construction industry is probably the most corrupt industry in country and I can tell a few stories.
    I’m retired now, I’m estranged from my family thanks to the list I don’t have a pot to piss in but my integrity is intact and I don’t give a toss what they do to me now.

    They have a list with 2 million names on it but I like to think we have 2 million lists.

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