Blacklisting case highlights dangerous loophole

A High Court judge had accepted a UCATT safety rep blacklisted for his safety activities was treated unjustly, but has no legal redress because he was an agency employee.

Dave Smith, a founder member of the Blacklist Support Group, was repeatedly dismissed and refused work after his name appeared on The Consulting Association (TCA) blacklist. A large file held by the organisation itemises concerns raised by the safety rep about asbestos, poor toilet facilities and contaminated waste on London and Essex building sites controlled by Carillion companies.

The original employment tribunal case rejected his claim because he was an agency worker and not directly employed by Carillion. This was upheld by an Employment Appeal Tribunal.

In a ruling issued on 17 January 2014, High Court judge Mrs Justice Slade DBE said that UK employment law does not protect agency workers. The judge did however identify human rights violations and expressed concern that Smith, the secretary of the Blacklist Support Group, had “suffered an injustice from blacklisting”.

Mowlem, the construction firm taken over by Carillion that ran the sites, was a contributor to The Consulting Association.

Dave Smith said he planned to appeal. “Being a union member is not against the law. Raising concerns about asbestos is not against the law. But despite mountains of documentary evidence proving that construction firms were systematically blacklisting union members who questioned safety standards, it seems that big business are above the law.”

He added: “Blacklisting is a violation of human rights. We intend to fight this all the way to Europe until we achieve justice. My heroic legal team are already preparing our appeal.”

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5 Comments

  1. Posted 23 January, 2014 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Blacklisting is a violation of the basic human rights in worklife. It is a treat to a good safetywork and make it difficult to be a important whistleblower.

  2. Posted 25 January, 2014 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    In the battle for justice for blacklisted workers it is clearly one step forward, two steps back. Most importantly though, the setbacks will not dissuade our blacklisted sisters and brothers to give up. In Solidarity. Ian

  3. Posted 28 January, 2014 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Being a Trade Union Representatives it is our duty to protect the basic rights of the workers

  4. Vincent Broomhead
    Posted 4 February, 2014 at 1:21 am | Permalink

    I look forward to the day when Big Business – be it Builders or Bankers – is no longer above the Law.

  5. Colm o Kelly
    Posted 5 March, 2014 at 12:14 am | Permalink

    I find this course of action by employers, the legal system and governments protecting them not surprising. It seems now to be a worldwide phenomenon, is it time for a world wide response, perhaps a global union is the answer!.” One out, all out” as the old saying goes!
    How much longer can ordinary people who are trying to earn a living, whilst retaining some dignity in the workplace put up with bullying tactics and absolute disregard for the basic rights of people?

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