Employers and consultants who blacklist trade unionists should face the full weight of the criminal law including the ultimate sanction of imprisonment, according to Thompsons Solicitors which acts for the majority of British unions.
Following the formation of the Blacklist Support Group, the following dates may be of interest:
* Fri 7 August , 7am Manchester @ Fiddlers Ferry – joining protest in support of Steve Acheson (still blacklisted by Electrical contractors to this day)
* Tues 29 Sept, 6.30pm Brighton @ Labour Party Conference Fringe Meeting with Shrewsbury 24 campaign
* Tues 6 October, 6pm Meeting @ House of Commons – hosted by John McDonnell MP; guest speakers to be confirmed
For more info or to arrange media interviews with blacklisted building workers please contact: blacklistSG@googlemail.com
Blacklist Support Group
An informal support network for building workers blacklisted for their trade union and safety activities has been established following a meeting last week at Westminster. Labour MP John McDonnell hosted the meeting at the House of Commons, at which a decision was made to set up the Blacklist Support Group.
A spokesperson for the new group said it would give workers a “coherent collective voice”. The group said it planned to investigate the prospects of a potential class action civil claim and cases under human rights legislation. It also aims to “expose the illegal practices of the major construction firms involved in blacklisting.”
The Blacklist Support Group wants action to be taken against the major site companies named by the Information Commissioner, who seized a database of over 3,200 illegally held records in a February raid on the industry-backed covert blacklisting group The Consulting Association.
Trade journal Construction News last week revealed that top contributors last year to the blacklisting organisation were Skanska and Sir Robert McAlpine, who were invoiced for 28,122 and £26,840 respectively by the blacklisting firm during 2008. This was on top of their £3,000 annual subscription fee. Balfour Beatty companies were the next biggest contributor, invoiced for £9,000. Individual searches of the blacklisting database cost £2.20.
The government has launched a consultation on new regulations that will make it unlawful for trade union members to be denied employment through secret blacklists.
Ministers say they plan to seek parliamentary approval for the regulations in the autumn and to implement them as soon as possible after that.
BIS news release and consultation [pdf] • TUC news release • The Guardian • Risks 414 • 11 July 2009
Construction union UCATT has welcomed the government’s commitment to outlaw blacklisting but says it is disappointed that the process will be delayed as a result of a fresh consultation exercise. The Information Commissioner announced in March that over 40 major construction companies were paying a company called the Consulting Association to routinely blacklist workers.
UCATT news release • Construction News • Morning Star • Risks 406 • 16 May 2009
Following revelations that many construction companies have been subscribing to a blacklisting service that includes information on safety representatives in the industry, the government has confirmed that it will urgently review whether to outlaw blacklisting after allegations of its widespread practice in construction.
Contract Journal • Risks 404 • 2 May 2009
The glittering list of contractors accused of using a ‘construction blacklist’ to vet potential employees are bracing themselves for the legal and political fallout. Unions UCATT and Unite are both seeking legal advice on suing some of the 45 contractors named in the list, while Labour MP Michael Clapham has tabled an Early Day Motion deploring the existence of the list.
ICO news release [pdf] • briefing on the Consulting Association and related ICO enforcement notice [pdf] • Construction News • The Guardian and related story and audio report • BBC News Online • Contract Journal and related story • Financial Times • The Times • The Telegraph • Risks 397 • 14 March 2009