Undercover police spied on rail union activists

Research by the Blacklist Support Group (BSG) has revealed that an undercover police officer masqueraded as a union activist to spy on members of the rail union RMT.

Photographic evidence unearthed by BSG secretary Dave Smith shows that in October 2004 Carlo Neri was present at a union protest following the sacking of the prominent union activist Steve Hedley at the Kings Cross terminal for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL).

The presence of the undercover officer from the Metropolitan Police’s Special Demonstration Squad was captured on camera by freelance photographer Andrew Wiard. The photographs show Neri standing behind an RMT banner with the slogan ‘Reinstate Steve Hedley’ while handing out leaflets to construction workers who had walked out in support of the victimised union activist.

Steve, now an elected senior assistant general secretary at RMT, commented: “I am appalled that a secret police spy thought that it was justified to turn up on a peaceful RMT picket line in order to gather information. I had earlier housed this person rent free as he claimed he was being made homeless and feel shocked that taxpayers’ money could be used like this to betray the trust of people engaged in completely legitimate industrial action.”

The photographs were rediscovered by Dave Smith while undertaking research for the updated version of the groundbreaking book ‘Blacklisted’.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT has been aware for some time that there was a destroyed ‘rail file’ at the heart of the blacklisting conspiracy that has never been properly investigated.”

He added: “Both of RMT’s assistant general secretaries, Steve Hedley and Mick Lynch, were blacklisted and the union is demanding to know how many others were being spied on by the police and the employers’ organisations. The fight for truth and justice goes on.”

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