Whitewash A store front campaign by soap brand Lush has been criticised by the government after it exposed how an official cover-up of police complicity in an illegal blacklisting conspiracy is denying justice to union and safety activists. Hazards 143, July-September 2018
Perverted Major construction firms, terrified at the prospect of facing examination in the dock, have paid £75m to settle blacklisting claims out-of-court. Hazards editor Rory O’Neill says some top bosses may yet end up answering charges, this time for perverting the course of justice as they tried to cover their criminal tracks. Hazards 134, April-June 2016
We will get you Top bosses were caught red handed dealing illegally with a covert blacklister, but none have so far faced justice. So, the Blacklist Support Group went to arrest construction industry giant Cullum McAlpine, the first ever chair of the Consulting Association. Hazards 125, January-March 2014
Act up! The firms denied it, the government ignored it and the privacy watchdog refused to alert unwitting victims. But in a stunning national blacklisting campaign, unions and campaigners have forced them all to think again. Will blacklisted workers soon win the answers and justice they deserve? Hazards 124, October-December 2013
Blacklist Thousands of workers on a construction blacklist lost their livelihoods as a result. A Hazards photofile features the stunning Blacklist Support Group campaign that exposed collusion between employers and the police and inaction by the government.
Hazards 121, January-March 2013
Big liars After noisily protesting their innocence, it seems the biggest names in UK construction were – and some remain - safety blacklisters after all. Hazards warns that victimisation of union and safety activists is alive and killing. Hazards 120, October-December 2012
Pay-per-go Whistleblowers play a key role in exposing legal wrongdoing in the workplace, including potentially devastating and deadly safety abuses.
But a mixture of hefty tribunal fees and backdoor changes to the law are
set to make it easier for rogue bosses to fire anyone who speaks up. Hazards 119, July-September 2012
All fired up When a private investigator was fined £5,000 for running an illegal
blacklist of over 3,000 construction workers, the real villains escaped
justice. The construction industry''s major names had bankrolled and directed The Consulting Association, which in turn told them to steer
clear of union activists - particularly those like Dave Smith who had
made a stand on safety.
Hazards 107, July-September 2009
the firing line In the UK we
have kinda, sorta rights. You can refuse dangerous work, but you can
be fired for your trouble. You can speak up at work, but you risk being
kicked out. Hazards calls for an end to this "protection
racket" and says we'd all be safer if safety reps had more rights. Hazards 89,
15 February 2005
Victimisation: How to get safe, not sacked and what to do when things go wrong Everyone wants workplaces to be safer,
right? And everyone thinks getting hazards remedied and dangerous work
stopped is OK, OK? Well, not every employer thinks so, as thousands
of workers find out each year. Mick Holder looks at how you can get fired up about safety without getting fired.
Hazards 79, July-September 2002 [pdf]
Hazards blacklist blog
National Whistleblower Center, USA
A Trade Union Perspective, London
Public Concern at Work
Whistleblower Protection Blog, USA
Britain: Police collusion proof shows need for blacklisting inquiry
The construction union Unite has renewed its call for a full public inquiry into a scandal that saw thousands of union and safety activists blacklisted. The union was speaking out as new evidence emerged it said demonstrates that for decades the police and security services were involved in the illegal activity on an ‘industrial scale’.
Unite news release. Blacklist blog. New Internationalist. Morning Star and related story. The Guardian. Daily Record. Risks 889. 16 March 2019
Britain: Blacklisting dispute averted on Crossrail
The threat of industrial action on Crossrail was averted after Unite members secured the reinstatement of an electrician suspected of having faced fresh blacklisting. Workers had raised fears over the dismissal in late February 2019 of Martin Overy, a former Unite safety representative, who was sacked almost immediately after getting a job at London’s Paddington station.
Morning Star. Risks 888. 9 March 2019
Britain: Unite pledge to see top blacklisting boss in court
A construction boss who played a pivotal role in orchestrating a blacklisting scandal that targeted union safety activists will face the courts, the union Unite has pledged. The union said it “is closing in” on Cullum McAlpine who it wants to account for his actions in court. Unite is taking fresh legal action on behalf of workers who were blacklisted by the Consulting Association.
Unite news release. Morning Star. BBC News Online. Blacklist blog. Risks 887. 2 March 2019
Britain: Union renews calls for blacklisting justice
Workers who are victims of blacklisting deserve better protection and justice, the rail union TSSA has said. TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes renewed the union’s action call as the Blacklist Support Group said it was preparing to make public 'important new information' on a continuing problem.
TSSA news release.
The Blacklist Support Group 10th anniversary parliamentary event, Wednesday 6 March, 5pm - 7:30pm, Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London. Risks 886. 23 February 2019
Thailand: Persecution of union leaders ‘shames’ country
A high-level delegation from the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) to Bangkok has condemned the treatment of a group of workers from the State Rail Union of Thailand (SRUT) who have been persecuted for raising safety concerns. SRUT president Sawit Kaewvarn said: “We will not back down because we know we have not done anything wrong, and I am sure that this mission from the ITF will help us to finally win justice.”
ITF news release. Risks 882. 26 January 2018
Britain: RMT rep who was ‘grudge’ victim is reinstated
A prominent activist and safety rep with the rail union RMT has been reinstated following negotiations between management and union representatives. Benjamin ‘Ben’ Frederick, a guard on Great Western Railway (GWR) got his job back following an announcement that workers would ballot for industrial action in support of their colleague.
Morning Star. Risks 876. 24 November 2018
Global: Unions welcome Google walkout over harassment
Unions have demanded Google toughens up its act in dealing with sexual harassment claims, after the tech giant’s staff across the globe walked out on 1 November in a protest over the issue. An estimated 17,000 Google employees worldwide joined the action against a pattern of sexual harassment, gender inequality and systemic racism they say goes “all the way to the top” of the transnational company.
Unite news release. New York Times and related article. Wall Street Journal. Bloomberg News. Morning Star. BBC News Online. Risks 874. 10 November 2018
Britain: Strike threat over the sacking of assaulted RMT activist
Rail workers at Great Western Railway’s Paddington depot are to vote on industrial action over the victimisation of RMT activist Ben Frederick, the union has said. RMT general secretary Mick Cash he was fired because of a “vexatious and false allegation” as the result of a management grudge against a respected union activist.
RMT news release. Morning Star. Risks 874. 10 November 2018
Britain: Unite calls for investigation into gas rig blacklisting threats
Offshore union Unite has called for an investigation into claims of blacklisting threats at one of the UK’s biggest gas fields. The union has had a “considerable number of reports” of threats of workers being NRBd – not required back – from members working for contractor Bilfinger Salamis on the Culzean platform.
Unite news release. Energy Voice. Evening Express. Risks 863. 25 August 2018
Britain: Budweiser sacks safety rep for raising safety concerns
GMB has said its members at brewery giant Budweiser could take industrial action after a senior safety rep fired for raising safety concerns. Paul Morley, the site’s senior health and safety rep, had raised concerns over the safety implications of a management initiative to speed up the brewing process.
GMB news release. Morning Star. BBC News Online. Beer Today. Risks 860. 4 August 2018
Britain: Union takes site firms to court over blacklisting of workers
New legal action is being taken against Britain’s biggest construction firms over the illegal blacklisting of workers in Scotand. Unite has lodged a complaint with the Scottish courts on behalf of nine men who they claim were frozen out of their trades for years after being included on a list of ‘troublemakers, union reps and health and safety officers’.
The Metro. Evening Times. Risks 587. 14 July 2018
Britain: GMB turns in Metropolitan Police over blacklisting
The GMB has referred the Metropolitan Police to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) after the force failed to answer a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. On 9 April, the union filed a request for the Met’s full internal investigation report into surveillance by undercover officers of individuals including union and safety activists, all emails relating to the report and details of overt and covert meetings between officers and members of blacklisting organisations.
GMB news release. Risks 856. 7 July 2018
Britain: Activists expose police collusion in site blacklist
Blacklisted workers have increased the pressure on the police over their covert monitoring of union safety activists and their collusion with an illegal industry-financed blacklisting group. The 25 June edition of BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme featured blacklisted construction workers including Dave Smith and Steve Acheson, both of whom were dismissed for raising safety concerns on site, with Smith telling the programme: “We’ve had people embedded with our group for more than 10 years, and I’m a trade unionist, not a terrorist.”
BBC News Online. Victoria Derbyshire programme, 25 June 2018. Risks 855. 30 June 2018
Britain: Campaigners praise Lush stand on the spycops scandal
Cosmetic brand Lush has been praised by campaigners for its nationwide campaign to raise awareness of the ‘spycops’ scandal, which has seen union, safety, environmental and other activists’ groups infiltrated by undercover police officers. Displays condemning the police strategy appeared in Lush store window displays.
Blacklist blog. Letter from John McDonnell and others in support of Lush. The Guardian and related story. Morning Star. Risks 852. 9 June 2018.
Britain: Teacher with cystic fibrosis has discrimination ruling upheld
An English teacher with cystic fibrosis who was discriminated against by his employer has won at the Court of Appeal the final round of a long-running legal battle. NEU member Philip Grosset, who was head of English at the Joseph Rowntree School in New Earswick, outside York, was awarded £180,000 compensation and £208,000 in pension entitlements after the Employment Appeal Tribunal upheld an earlier ruling that he had been discriminated against on the basis of his disability.
Morning Star. York Press. Daily Mail. Risks 850. 26 May 2018
Britain: Qantas using ‘anti-union’ tactics to silence safety concerns
The union Unite has warned Qantas airlines against employing ‘anti-union’ tactics to try and suppress legitimate health and safety concerns. The union was speaking out after the introduction of the airline’s new 17-hour ultra-long haul flight between London Heathrow and Perth in Australia, which means an average duty period of 19 hours for the ten cabin crew on board each 787 Dreamliner aircraft serving the route.
Unite news release. Morning Star. Travel Weekly. Risks 850. 26 May 2018
Britain: GMB demands release of Met Police blacklisting report
Construction union GMB has called on Scotland Yard to release its internal investigation into the secret blacklisting of thousands of construction safety activists by household name companies including Carillion, Balfour Beatty, Costain, Kier, Laing O'Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and Vinci. Lawyers Leigh Day, acting for GMB, have filed a Freedom of Information request for the Metropolitan Police’s full internal investigation report, all emails relating to the report and details of overt and covert meetings between officers and members of blacklisting organisations.
GMB news release. Leigh Day news release. Risks 844. 14 April 2018
Britain: Police blacklisting admission could lead to fresh legal action
Claims by unions and campaigners that undercover officers from the Metropolitan Police infiltrated union groups and spied on their safety activists have been confirmed. The Met’s Deputy Assistant Commissioner Richard Martin admitted in a letter to the Blacklist Support Group (BSG) that his officers supplied information used by the Consulting Association, a covert blacklister operating illegally.
Unite news release. GMB news release. Morning Star and related article. The Guardian and related article. BBC News Online. Construction Enquirer. Risks 843.
7 April 2018
Britain: Unite calls for action after discovery of offshore ‘blacklist’
The union Unite has questioned the culture of a North Sea operator, after a worker said he had been removed from a platform after discovering a “blacklist”. Trade journal Energy Voice reported the list, which contained the names of 15 offshore workers, was found on the Claymore platform operated by Repsol Sinopec Resources UK.
Energy Voice. Risks 843. 7 April 2018
Britain: Spycops revelations show need for blacklisting public inquiry
New revelations emerging during the public inquiry into undercover policing highlight the need for a separate and full public inquiry into the workplace blacklisting scandal, the union Unite has said. The ‘spycops’ inquiry is investigating how members of the Metropolitan Police Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) infiltrated union and campaign groups.
Unite news release. Risks 842. 24 March 2018
Britain: Leonard vows to crack down on blacklisters
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard has said he will crackdown on outsourcing and blacklisting. In his first speech to the Scottish Labour conference as the party’s leader in Scotland, he condemned firms that exploited and blacklisted workers.
Morning Star. Risks 841. 17 March 2018
Britain: Radical overhaul needed following Amey prison scandal
Unite is calling for a radical overhaul in the way prison maintenance work is undertaken following revelations that two workers at Liverpool Prison were unfairly dismissed for raising safety issues. The union said John Bromilow and Harry Wildman, who had combined service of 45 years, were employed by private contractor Amey, which took over the running of maintenance and other functions in 60 prisons in June 2015.
Unite news release. The Independent. Risks 841. 17 March 2018
Britain: Leaked ledgers confirm Carillion’s blacklisting
Failed construction giant Carillion was a major supporter of an illegal blacklisting outfit that targeted safety activists and trade union reps, leaked documents have confirmed. This month the Canary obtained the Consulting Association’s entire set of ledgers, which confirmed Carillion’s routine payments for data from the Consulting Association files.
The Canary. The Metro. Risks 834. 27 January 2018
Britain: Report calls for criminal sanctions for blacklisters
There should be a public inquiry into the blacklisting scandal and there should be criminal sanctions on employers operating blacklists, a new report has recommended. The report from the independent think tank the Institute of Employment Rights comes eight years after the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) found evidence that thousands of workers had been locked out of employment in the construction industry for highlighting dangerous working practices or being a member of a trade union.
IER news release and report, Blacklisting: The Need for a Public Inquiry, IER, December 2017. Risks 831. 6 January 2018
Britain: Sellafield firm faces action over union rep’s dismissal
A civil engineering company working at the Sellafield nuclear site could face industrial action after firing a shop steward who raised serious safety concerns. DSD Construction, based in Carlisle, is undertaking work to enhance security at the nuclear reprocessing site at Sellafield.
Unite news release. Risks 831. 6 January 2018
USA: Fear stops meat workers speaking out on safety
Workers at US meat and poultry processing plants are reluctant to tell federal health and safety inspectors about injuries or workplace hazards because of concerns they could lose their jobs, according to a government report. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has difficulty addressing workers’ safety concerns because many won’t contact the agency for fear of employer retaliation, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said.
GAO report highlights, recommendations and full report. The Pump Handle. Confined Space. Industry Week. Risks 830. 16 December 2017
Britain: Unite to force blacklisters to testify
Unite has issued high court proceedings to bring the ‘controlling minds’ behind the systematic blacklisting of workers to justice and force them to give evidence in court for the first time. The construction union high court case for unlawful conspiracy is against David Cochrane, Cullum McAlpine, Danny O’Sullivan and Stephen Quant.
Unite news release. Morning Star. Construction Enquirer. The Guardian. Risks 829. 9 December 2017
Britain: Unite pans ‘disgusting’ ethical award for blacklister
An ethical labour standard award to leading blacklisting company Sir Robert McAlpine has been described as ‘shocking and disgusting’ by the construction union Unite. In October, the company became the first construction contractor to be awarded the ‘Ethical Labour Sourcing’ standard by the Building Research Establishment (BRE).
Unite news release. EDM 401: The House of Commons and Lords Commissions and the award of the Elizabeth Tower contract to Sir Robert McAlpine. Risks 824. 4 November 2017
Britain: Refunds for tribunal fees welcomed by UNISON
The government is to start reimbursing the fees paid it required from people taking employment tribunal claims. In a major humiliation for the government, the fees introduced in 2013 were ruled unlawful by the Supreme Court, following a long running legal challenge by the public service UNISON.
UNISON news release. MoJ news release. The Mirror. Risks 823. 28 October 2017
Britain: Musicians get support against abuse at work
In the wake of a slew of reports from women working in arts, culture, media and entertainment about sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse in the workplace, the Musicians’ Union has stressed it is there to provide support. The union said thousands of workers in the industry have shared their stories across social media using hashtags including #metoo and #himthough.
MU news release. Risks 823. 28 October 2017
Britain: MPs call for blacklister to be stripped of Big Ben contract
Unite has welcomed a call by over 60 MPs for construction giant Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd to be stripped of the multimillion pound contract for the restoration work on Big Ben. The Early Day Motion tabled by Labour MP Chuka Umunna calls for the contract to be awarded instead to a firm without a history of blacklisting.
Unite news release. EDM 401: The House of Commons and Lords Commissions and the award of the Elizabeth Tower contract to Sir Robert McAlpine. Risks 822. 21 October 2017
Britain; Government ‘washes its hands’ on blacklisting
Unite has said it is disappointed but not surprised that the government is once again ‘washing its hands’ of blacklisting. Unite said the government’s latest refusal to act comes as the union was forced to intervene to secure the reinstatement of a member who experienced ‘contemporary blacklisting’.
Unite news release. Morning Star. Risks 820. 7 October 2017
Britain: Blacklister to benefit as Big Ben bill balloons
Big Ben will now cost £61m to renovate with the extra taxpayers’ cash ‘trousered by the kings of blacklisting’ Sir Robert McAlpine Limited, the Blacklist Support Group (BSG) has said. The rising cost was announced as parliament confirmed it had appointed the construction giant to carry out the renovation, which could take up to four years, following a tendering process.
Blacklist blog. BBC News Online. Risks 820. 7 October 2017
Britain: Agency staff have shifts withdrawn as ‘punishments’
Agency staff working on temporary or zero hours contracts face having shifts taken away as ‘punishment’ according to a new academic study produced in collaboration with a union. Researchers from the University of Salford and Sheffield Hallam spoke to dozens of agency workers, along with staff from the agencies themselves as well as unions and job centres.
Salford University news release, publication note and related presentation. Morning Star. Risks 818. 23 September 2017
Britain: MPs call for blacklister to lose £29m Big Ben contract
MPs lined up to call for a public inquiry into blacklisting and for construction giant Sir Robert McAlpine to be stripped of the contract to refurbish Big Ben. Sir Robert McAlpine, which was one of the major firms to pay compensation to blacklisted workers, has already been paid £3.5m of public money to carry out the enabling works on Big Ben and are in line for another £29m pay-out to complete the 4 year refurbishment project.
Blacklisting debate, Westminster Hall, 5 September 2017. Blacklist blog. The Guardian Risks 817. 16 September 2017.
Britain: Unite demands action on ‘contemporary’ blacklisting
The construction union Unite has called on the government to act decisively “to end the nefarious practice of blacklisting once and for all”, by barring blacklisters from public sector contracts and holding a full public inquiry into the practice. The call came after Labour MP Chuka Umunna revealed in a 5 September parliamentary debate in Westminster Hall that Crossrail and major contractors working on the project are continuing to engage in the blacklisting of workers.
Unite news release. Blacklisting debate, Westminster Hall, 5 September 2017. Risks 817. 16 September 2017
Britain: TUC poll finds racism is rampant at work
More than a third (37 per cent) of black or minority ethnic (BME) workers have been bullied, abused or singled out at work, according to research published by the TUC. The polling is part of a major new TUC report on racism at work.
TUC news release and ‘Is Racism Real?’ report. Face it: We are all sickened by inequality at work, ITUC/Hazards, March 2017. Risks 817. 16 September 2017
Britain: Piper Alpha judge worries workers still fear raising concerns
The judge who headed the Piper Alpha disaster public inquiry has expressed fears that offshore workers still worry about raising safety concerns. Lord Cullen said he still had fears about whether workers feel able to raise safety concerns without repercussions.
BBC News Online. The National. Risks 813. 12 August 2017
Britain: Ambulance service report confirms harassment plague
A damning report into an ambulance trust has confirmed union concerns about a culture of bullying and harassment and the ‘toxic’ atmosphere at South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (Secamb). After complaints were raised by GMB in February the trust commissioned an independent review, which the trust admitted revealed “unacceptable” behaviour., GMB must demand that this report elicits detailed internal investigations.”
Secamb news release and independent report. Morning Star. BBC News Online. The Guardian. Risks 813. 12 August 2017
USA: Court OK with firing workers exposing sick abuse
A US federal appeals court in St Louis has ruled that it is acceptable for the boss of a fast-food chain to fire workers for being “disloyal.” The US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed a ruling issued by the Obama-era National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and held that Miklin Enterprises, the owner of Jimmy John’s franchises in Minneapolis, had the right to fire six pro-union advocates because they demonstrated “disloyalty” by distributing flyers that implied the company was selling unsafe food contaminated by employees forced to work while sick.
In These Times. Risks 809. 22 July 2017
Britain: No blacklist justice for Britain’s agency staff
A former union safety rep, who a succession of courts accepted was victimised for his construction site safety activities, has been told he has no legal redress against the blacklisters because he was an agency worker. Dave Smith received confirmation from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), that his human rights had been violated but that because of a select committee investigation and last year’s High Court settlement, the case had been “duly considered” by the British legal system and Smith’s claim was therefore “inadmissible.”
Morning Star. Risks 799. 13 May 2017
Britain: Agencies still blacklisting workers, says Unite
A year after unions secured a historic court victory for blacklisted workers, Unite says it is still fighting for justice for victims of the scandal. Unite assistant general secretary for construction Gail Cartmail, said: “Despite blacklisting being a nasty secretive practice, Unite has been able to compile a dossier of these abuses.”
Unite news release. Risks 799. 13 May 2017
Britain: Tube staff strike for victimised work violence victims
Tube workers at London Bridge station have taken industrial action in a further protest against the sacking of a member of staff and the disciplining of two others. The RMT members working for London Underground (LU) staged the 24-hour strike from 10pm on 7 May in response to LU’s blame-the-worker behaviour after an incident in which a fare-dodger was violent towards staff.
RMT news release. The Telegraph. Morning Star. Evening Standard. Risks 799. 13 May 2017
Britain: Tube vote for action over ‘London Bridge Three’
London Underground (LU) union RMT has confirmed that station staff across the London Bridge and Waterloo groups have voted for both strike action and action short of a strike after one member was fired and two others disciplined for intervening to stop a serious assault by a fare-dodger on fellow staff members, including one who was pregnant.
RMT news release. Risks 796. 22 April 2017
Britain: Protection call after surge in racist abuse of workers
Workers need protection from the upsurge in racist assaults and abuse at work since the Brexit vote last year, the TUC has said. The The ‘shocking results’ of a poll of over 1,000 Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) working adults by the TUC and ICM revealed over a third had witnessed or experienced racial abuse in the seven months following the referendum vote and almost one in five (19 per cent) had suffered or witnessed a racial assault.
TUC Stronger Unions blog and TUC/IBM BAME poll. TUC guide to violence at work. Risks 795. 8 April 2017
Britain: Condemnation over prosecution of vindicated rail guard
Rail union RMT has slammed the ‘outrageous’ decision to prosecute a train guard for endangering passenger safety after an 89-year-old woman fell from the platform. Merseyrail guard Martin Zee has now been unanimously cleared of all charges relating to the incident, which occurred at Hamilton Square Station on 8 July 2015, and had earlier been vindicated in two separate inquiries.
RMT news release. Liverpool Echo. Risks 793. 25 March 2017
Britain: Union fury at Tube bosses for firing attack hero
Tube union RMT has reacted with fury after London Underground (LU) upheld the ‘disgraceful’ sacking of a staff member who intervened to stop a violent fare dodger from assaulting colleagues at London Bridge last autumn. RMT is already balloting station staff across the London Bridge group for industrial after the member was fired and two others were disciplined for stepping in to stop the serious assault on colleagues, including one who was pregnant.
RMT news release. Risks 793. 25 March 2017
Britain: Union anger after Tube attack heroes are disciplined
Tube workers at one of London Underground’s busiest stations are to be balloted for industrial action after one member was sacked and two others disciplined for stepping in to stop a violent assault on colleagues. RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “This was a shocking, violent incident and those that bore the brunt of it should have been supported and commended by the company… Instead they have been sacked or disciplined in what is the most appalling miscarriage of justice.”
RMT news release. Morning Star. Risks 790. 4 March 2017
Britain: Injured whistleblower wins unfair dismissal fight
A chef has won an unfair dismissal case after being fired for blowing the whistle on a dangerous grill and deep-fat fryer at the London bar where he worked. GMB member Marcelo Lagos, who was head chef at the Number 1 Bar in London Bridge, was dismissed in 2015 - just after he raised his concerns about a burn he had sustained on faulty equipment in the kitchen.
Morning Star. Risks 790. 4 March 2017
Britain: GMB anger at ‘horrific’ bullying of ambulance call staff
The union GMB is calling for urgent government action after it was revealed desperate 999 call handlers attempted suicide amid an “endemic culture of bullying” at a scandal-hit ambulance service. Leaked reports describe a “culture of fear” in the Coxheath Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) run by South East Coast Ambulance Trust (SECAmb), which saw employees subjected to repeated abuse and harassment.
GMB Southern region news release. The Telegraph. BBC News Online. Risks 788. 18 February 2017
Britain: Unite demands public inquiry into blacklisting
Construction union Unite renewed its demand for a public inquiry into blacklisting this week and backed calls by the Labour MP Chuka Umunna to strengthen the law to prevent blacklisting from happening. The call came ahead of an 8 February Westminster Hall debate on blacklisting led by the senior Labour MP.
Unite news release. Morning Star. Risks 787. 11 February 2017
Britain: Firefighters sent home for safety stand
A chief fire officer has been accused of behaving recklessly after he sent home two firefighters from their shift on 16 January when they refused to operate a Tactical Response Vehicle (TRV). The furefighters were heeding a warning from their union FBU that these vehicles are unsafe.
FBU news release. Risks 785. 28 January 2017
Britain: Bosses need to sharpen up on work dress
Too many employers are ‘stuck in the past’ on workplace dress codes, the TUC has said. The union body was commenting after a report on high heels and workplace dress codes was published this week by two committees of MPs, which said the government must enforce the law properly to ban sexist dress rules at work that discriminate against women.
Petitions Committee and Women and Equalities Committee news release and High Heels and Workplace Dress Codes – summary, conclusions and recommendations and full report, 25 January 2017. TUC news release. The Guardian. BBC News Online. Risks 785. 28 January 2017
Britain: Information commissioner reopens blacklisting file
Britain’s information commissioner has reopened the file on construction industry blacklisting amid fears that the life-destroying practice is still taking place. Elizabeth Denham, who has headed the privacy watchdog ICO since July, said so concerned by the scandal, which was the subject of a multi-million pound compensation settlement this year, that she has told staff to begin “a watching brief” on the construction industry to make sure the practice has ended.
The Guardian. GMB blacklisting webpages. Risks 780. 10 December 2016
Britain: Laing O’Rourke guilty of ‘subtle blacklisting’
The failure of a construction company to recognise an elected union safety rep and a shop steward on Europe’s largest rail infrastructure project has been branded ‘a subtle form of blacklisting’ by Unite. The union says it is angry that Laing O’Rourke is not recognising the election of shop steward Terry Wilson and health and safety rep Martyn Prue, electricians working at the Crossrail project on London’s Tottenham Court Road.
Unite news release. Risks 776. 12 November 2016.
Britain: PCS rep Lee Rock back at work after ‘sick’ sacking
A longstanding PCS activist who was fired by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in February 2013 ostensibly on the grounds of his sickness record, has returned to work following his reinstatement. A tribunal found that Lee Rock had been unfairly dismissed and upheld, in part, the claim of disability discrimination.
PCS news release. Risks 768. 17 September 2016.
Australia: Victimised injured Rio Tinto secures massive award
The Australian federal court has ordered mining giant Rio Tinto to pay almost Aus$1.3m (£0.74m) in damages, compensation and interest payments to a coalminer fired after claiming compensation for a workplace injury. Michael Haylett’s victimisation settlement came in a court case backed by mining and construction union CFMEU, described by the union’s Stephen Smyth as a ‘David and Goliath’ battle against a mining giant.
CFMEU news release. Risks 767. 10 September 2016
Britain: Blacklisting, bullying and blowing the whistle, 16-17 September, London
The University of Greenwich, London is to host a 16-17 September conference on ‘Blacklisting, bullying and blowing the whistle’. The event has been organised by the university’s Work & Employment Research Unit (WERU) in conjunction with the Blacklist Support Group. Speakers include top academics, campaigners, employment and human rights lawyers, union officers and activists and shadow chancellor John McDonnell.
Further information on Blacklisting, bullying and blowing the whistle, Friday/Saturday 16-17 September 2016, University of Greenwich, London. Conference programme. Risks 765. 27 August 2016.
Britain: Unite is closing the net on blacklisters
This year’s multimillion pound compensation payout from the major site firms behind the construction industry blacklisting scandal, wrapped in a public apology, was not the end of the matter, the union Unite has said. Assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail was commenting as new ‘fight back’ guidance, ‘Closing the net: Combatting contemporary blacklisting’, was launched at Unite’s policy conference.
Morning Star. Unite blacklisting webpages. Risks 760. 23 July 2016
Britain: Artists want blacklister out of the picture
Scottish artists are demanding that Glasgow School of Art end its contract with a major building firm that was involved in the construction industry blacklisting scandal. The call from the Scottish Artists Union came after Kier Construction was appointed as the main contractor for the restoration of the Mackintosh Building at the Glasgow School of Art (GSA).
The Herald. Risks 758. 9 June 2016
Britain: Unite slams public cash bonanza for blacklisters
Companies guilty of blacklisting workers because of their union and safety activities have enjoyed a share in a £1.5 billion of Scottish taxpayers’ money, a union has revealed. Unite Scotland revealed the cash bonanza enjoyed by blacklisters ahead of presenting evidence to the United Nations (UN) in Geneva on 15 June.
Unite news release. TUC Stronger Unions blog on the UK government’s isolation at the ILO. Risks 756. 25 June 2016
Britain: Blacklist campaigner highlights injustice
Only one person has been prosecuted for their criminal culpability in the blacklisting scandal, with not a single construction director behind the illegal operation having faced charges. However, Ian Kerr, the former head of the Consulting Association – the industry financed organisation that spied on union and safety activists and provided the information to major site firms – has now been joined by award-winning human rights campaigner Dave Smith, as the focus of a prosecution. Blacklist blog. Green Party news release. Morning Star.
Road block: How blocking roads has become a great way of making employers change direction, Dave Smith, Hazards, 2016. Risks 755. 18 June 2016
Britain: 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).
RMT news release. Blacklist blog. Blacklist Support Group facebook page. Andrew Wiard photographs. Risks 754. 11 June 2016.
Britain: GMB condemns ‘CIPD’ inaction on blacklisting
Serious and possibly criminal misbehaviour by top human resources managers involved in the blacklisting of construction workers has been met with a “disappointing” response from their professional body CIPD, the union GMB has said. GMB says it wrote to CIPD chief executive Peter Cheese as long ago as 18 October 2013, listing 37 senior HR professionals and other executives from the construction industry involved in the blacklisting scandal.
GMB news release. CIPD news release. Risks 752. 28 May 2016
Britain: Bosses tried to ‘pervert’ justice over blacklisting role
Victims of a construction industry blacklist who have been awarded a £75m out-of-court compensation settlement are to demand a police investigation into evidence key executives tried to pervert the course of justice. Evidence disclosed before the settlement has led many of the victims to claim that there was an illegal attempt by executives at Sir Robert McAlpine to destroy evidence and cover up the involvement of key individuals when the blacklisting was discovered in 2009.
The Guardian. Red Pepper. Risks 751. 21 May 2016
Britain: Campaign hots up to save sacked safety rep
The leader of a Birmingham drug and alcohol charity, which sacked Unite health and safety rep Alison Morris for raising concerns with her manager over fire safety, has been deluged with calls for her reinstatement. Unite says David Biddle, the chief executive of CGL, the city’s leading substance abuse charity, has received nearly 3,000 emails supporting Alison Morris’ reinstatement.
Unite news release. Morning Star. Risks 750. 14 May 2016
Britain: Blacklisting firms pay out millions in compensation
Hundreds of workers blacklisted by Britain’s biggest construction firms in an illegal conspiracy have won compensation following a long-running lawsuit. The out of court settlement was reached by lawyers acting for the Blacklist Support Group and the unions GMB and UCATT and brings to more than 600 the number of workers who have received compensation after their names appeared on the construction industry financed and run Consulting Association blacklist.
GMB news release. UCATT news release. Blacklist blog. BWI news release. The Guardian. BBC News Online. Construction Enquirer. Morning Star. The Mirror. Blacklist Support Group facebook page. Risks 749. 7 May 2016
Britain: High Court ‘blacklisting’ trial adjourned
A High Court trial involving outstanding blacklisting compensation claims against major construction firms has been adjourned until 9 June. Unite director of legal services Howard Beckett said: “Unite still represents about 90 members whose jobs were ruined and lives turned upside down by the ‘blacklisting’ scandal.”
Unite news release. Morning Star. Risks 749. 7 May 2016
Britain: Charity fires safety rep for raising ‘fire alarm’ alert
A union health and safety rep working for CGL, a leading drug and alcohol abuse charity, has been sacked after pointing out fire hazards that could have cost colleagues’ lives, her union Unite has said. Alison Morris, a drugs referral team leader, was summarily dismissed earlier this month from her Reach Out Recovery job, following her joint inspection with a fire brigade officer that found non-operational fire alarms in the building.
Unite news release. Risks 748. 30 April 2016.
Britain: ‘Blacklisting mastermind’ refuses to give evidence
The alleged architect of the construction blacklisting scandal, Cullum McAlpine, has declined to give evidence when the case comes before the High Court next month. Unite condemned the decision by the top director of Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd as ‘a further gross insult’ to the thousands of construction workers who have lost their jobs because of the covert activities of two industry backed organisations, the Consulting Association and its predecessor, the Services Group of the Economic League.
Unite news release. Risks 746. 16 April 2016
Britain: Blacklisted workers occupy Skanska HQ
Union safety activists who were blacklisted by major construction firms for their safety and union activities occupied the lobby of Skanska’s Hertfordshire head office on 14 March. Police were called to the peaceful demonstration which lasted several hours, and which stopped only when the protesters voted to end the action.
Morning Star. Construction Enquirer. Risks 743. 19 March 2016
Britain: Big win after postal workers back sick colleague
Postal workers in Somerset who stood up for a victimised sick colleague have won his reinstatement. CWU members at Bridgwater delivery office took action in support of Andrew Mootoo, who is profoundly deaf and also has multiple sclerosis, because management refused to allow him back to work after a bout of ill-health.
Bridgewater Mercury. Central Somerset Gazette. Morning Star. Socialist Worker. 20 February 2016.
Britain: Blacklisting exposes Trade Union Bill’s folly
Britain’s blacklisting scandal, which saw thousands of construction union reps victimised or denied work for raising safety concerns, provides ‘clear proof’ of the dangers posed by the government’s Trade Union Bill. TUC head of safety, Hugh Robertson said: “The blacklisting scandal is clear proof of why we need trade unions.”
Left Foot Forward blog. Blacklist blog. Risks 739. 20 February 2016.
Britain: Under pressure blacklisters pay out millions
Victims of a construction industry blacklist which targeted union safety activists have been awarded up to £200,000 compensation. So far 71 former site workers have received “full and final settlements” worth £5.6m from major construction companies.
UCATT news release. The Mirror. Blacklist blog. Risks 738. 13 February 2016.
Britain: Union demands blacklisting public inquiry
Firms guilty of blacklisting safety and union activists should face an official public grilling, the union Unite has said. Unite head of legal Howard Beckett said not only did the construction companies’ blacklist amount to an illegal conspiracy, but it also involved defamation and misuse of private and confidential personal data — in breach of the Data Protection Act.
Morning Star. Risks 738. 13 February 2016.
Britain: Site firms ordered to release blacklisting information
A High Court judge has ordered 30 construction firms, including Sir Robert McAlpine and Balfour Beatty, to disclose all emails and correspondence linked to the blacklisting of union reps and safety activists. The ruling came at the end of a two-day hearing last week where it emerged that documents had been destroyed linking the firms with the illegal covert blacklister, the industry-controlled and financed Consulting Association.
Blacklist blog. Risks 736. 20 January 2016.
Thailand: Worker rights activist faces prosecution again
Workers’ and migrants’ rights activist Andy Hall has faced the courts in Thailand again, after exposing the abuse of migrant workers in a Thai pineapple canning factory. Andy, a British passport holder, faces a seven-year prison sentence and a hefty fine for his part in writing a research report critical of the Natural Fruit Company Ltd’s employment practices.
TUC Stronger Unions blog. Glenis Willmott MEP news release. The Telegraph. Risks 735. 23 January 2016
Britain: Blacklisters up offers in bid to evade courts
Payouts of more than £150,000 have been offered by major construction firms to victims of the construction blacklist. In a statement, the Blacklist Support Group said: “The High Court litigation has reached a crucial point with the companies offering money in an attempt to buy themselves out of any justice.”
Construction Enquirer. Risks 735. 23 January 2016
Britain: Bad employers sometimes pay
While employment tribunal fees have drastically reduced the number of cases and typical awards for claimants are generally four-figure sums, tribunal decisions still occasionally cost employers dear. A round up six-figure employment tribunal awards in 2015 compiled by human resources magazine Personnel Today shows that far more substantial settlements can occur – and discrimination against sick workers was behind almost half of these bigger payouts.
Personnel Today. Risks 734. 16 January 2016
Britain: Blacklisters can’t bid for Scottish public contracts
Companies that are involved in ‘blacklisting’ will be excluded from bidding for public contracts in Scotland, under new regulations being laid in the Scottish Parliament in December 2015. From 18 April 2016, it will be a legal requirement for public bodies to exclude businesses found to have breached the Blacklists Regulations 2010, or which have admitted to doing so.
Scottish government news release and consultation responses. Risks 733. 9 January 2016
Britain: Safety criminal guilty, but workers were fired
A serial offender sentenced in December 2015 for its criminal safety failings had previously fired workers after blaming them for the incidents, their union GMB has said. Anglian Water Services Limited (AWSL) was fined £400,000 with costs of £41,711 after pleading guilty to criminal safety breaches.
GMB news release. HSE news release. Risks 733. 9 January 2016
Britain: London Assembly blacklists blacklisting
The London Assembly has criticised the blacklisting of construction workers who raised health and safety concerns. The elected body has also called on London mayor Boris Johnson to drive home the message to organisations under his jurisdiction that every employee must be protected if they identified health and safety problems.
London Assembly news release. Risks 732. 12 December 2015
Britain: Whistleblowing prison officer fights dismissal
A prison officer who revealed serious concerns about rising levels of violence in her jail and who warned that prison officers ‘are in danger’ is challenging the decision to sack her for speaking out. Kim Lennon, a member of the prison officers’ union POA, talked to the BBC, local newspaper the Argus and the Guardian of her concerns about the soaring levels of violence and overcrowding in Lewes prison, but was dismissed in November, when a disciplinary panel found she had brought discredit on the prison service by disclosing official information.
The Argus. The Guardian. BBC News Online. Risks 732. 12 December 2015
Britain: Court fees go – and so should tribunal fees
Public sector union UNISON has said the government should follow up its decision to axe one unjust set of legal fees by ending another – the tribunal fees barring access to justice for many workers abused, victimised or unfairly dismissed by their employers. UNISON has campaigned for the removal of Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal fees – which can mean a £1,200 charge to take a safety victimisation cases - since their introduction in July 2013.
UNISON news release. The Mirror. Risks 732. 12 December 2015
Britain: Police apology must lead to justice for blacklisted workers
Unite has welcomed the ‘unreserved apology’ from the Metropolitan Police to the seven women duped into relationships with undercover police officers specially assigned to infiltrate politically active groups or causes. The union said that the time has now come for those responsible for the Special Demonstration Squad to acknowledge its role in destroying the lives of dozens of blacklisted men and women working in construction and associate industries.
Unite news release. Metropolitan Police news release. Morning Star. Risks 730. 28 November 2015
Britain: Sorry Carillion slammed for blacklisting hypocrisy
Construction giant Carillion has been branded a hypocrite after demanding thousands of pounds in legal costs from a blacklisted worker only days after issuing an unreserved apology for blacklisting in the High Court. Blacklisted former UCATT safety rep Dave Smith commented: “Over the years, these people have sacked me, blacklisted me, fought me in the courts and bad mouthed me on their corporate website all because I tried to improve safety for my fellow workers,” adding: “I have no intention of paying a penny towards the legal costs of these money grabbing hypocrites.”
Blacklist blog. Carillion statement. Risks 725. 24 October 2015.
Britain: Blacklist campaigners hail major court breakthrough
Trade unions have welcomed a ‘massive breakthrough'' in the long-running legal case over blacklisting of safety and trade union activists in the construction industry. It follows an admission by some of Britain's biggest construction firms that they defamed workers and infringed their rights and an accompanying apology. UCATT news release. GMB news release. Unite news release. BBC News Online. The Guardian. Construction Enquirer. Morning Star. Risks 724. 17 October 2015.
Britain: Blacklisted to be heard at undercover cops inquiry
Blacklisted workers have been granted ‘core participant'' status in the government-ordered Pitchford public inquiry into undercover policing. The confirmation came in a letter to Imran Khan & Partners solicitors, who had applied to the Pitchford inquiry on behalf of the Blacklist Support Group.
Pitchford Inquiry webpage. Union Solidarity International. Morning Star. Risks 723. 10 October 2015
Britain: Hospital work left engineer under the doc
A Unite member from Bradford who suffered an acute back injury at work has secured more than £6,000 in compensation. The maintenance engineer at Bradford Royal Infirmary, whose name has not been released, worked from a plant room, which he could only access by climbing a set of ladders and entering through a small hatch.
Thompsons Solicitors news release. Risks 723. 10 October 2015
Britain: Bus driver fired after breaking his neck
A bus driver was fired after his neck was broken as he made his way to work. Describing the decision by Metroline to dismiss Manelson Chivela as “sickening”, his union GMB is now demanding his reinstatement. “Clearly, Metroline no longer allow their employees to recover from serious injuries, they simply dismiss them, and try to recruit replacements,” GMB''s Richard Owen said, adding that the union is demanding his reinstatement with no interruption of his employment rights.
GMB news release. Risks 719. 12 September 2015
Ireland: Fearful rail staff dare not report 'near misses'
Under pressure workers at Irish Rail are failing to report “near misses” or incidents on the country's railways for fear of being blamed by senior management, a damning safety audit has found. The draft report, commissioned by the Railway Safety Commission (RSC), also warns of “poor morale” among workers due to recently imposed pay cuts.
Irish Independent. Risks 718. 5 September 2015
Thailand: Intimidation of rights activist continues
A Thai court's has decided to indict migrants' rights activist Andy Hall, in what campaigners have described as “a major blow” to human rights in the country. The Bangkok South Criminal Court ruled on 24 August that researcher Andy Hall should face criminal defamation and computer crimes charges filed against him by a pineapple processing company, Natural Fruit Company Ltd.
Finnwatch news release. Stronger Unions blog. Letter to the Thai prime minister. Risks 717. 29 August 2015
Britain: Call for Scottish blacklisting inquiry
Westminster''s Scottish Affairs Select Committee and Holyrood''s Infrastructure Committee should look into holding a joint inquiry into blacklisting, a member of the Scottish parliament has said. Christina McKelvie, the MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse and a member of Scotland''s ruling Scottish National Party (SNP), has written to both committees following a meeting with workers'' representatives.
SNP news release. Risks 717. 29 August 2015
Britain: Blacklisters told to hand over evidence
Senior construction figures implicated in the blacklisting scandal have been ordered to explain their role in full. The order came after a July High Court hearing, where lawyers acting for hundreds of blacklisted workers applied for disclosure of documents held by companies involved in blacklisting.
GMB news release. Risks 713. 1 August 2015
Britain: Undercover policing inquiry must cover blacklisting
Blacklisting in the construction industry must be investigated by the public inquiry into undercover policing in England and Wales, Unite has said. Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said the union would be prepared to give evidence to the public inquiry, chaired by Lord Justice Pitchford, on what it knows of ‘blacklisting'' in the construction industry.
Unite news release. Risks 713. 1 August 2015
Britain: Hovis fired workers for raising safety concerns
Baking giant Hovis Ltd fired two employees after they notified management of health and safety concerns. Peter Barszczak and Mohammed Farooq, both members of the bakers'' union BFAWU, were dismissed by Hovis after they reported an injury at a Hovis warehouse – and have now won a second unfair dismissal tribunal, and secured another compensation award.
Thompsons Solicitors news release. Risks 713. 1 August 2015.
Thailand: Call to defend migrant rights defender
Thai authorities should drop charges against a prominent migrant worker rights activist, union and human rights organisations have said. Human Rights Watch said the charges violate the free expression rights of the activist, British researcher Andy Hall, and undermine his efforts to challenge labour rights and safety abuses by companies in Thailand.
TUC Stronger Unions blog. HRW news release and Thailand webpages. Risks 712. 25 July 2015.
Britain: Inquiry needs clarity on undercover policing
Construction union UCATT is calling on Lord Justice Pitchford to clarify whether his public inquiry into undercover policing will cover the established police role in blacklisting. The union call came after Home Secretary Theresa May said that the inquiry would “examine the motivation for, and the scope of, undercover police operations in practice and their effect upon individuals in particular and the public in general.”
UCATT news release. Morning Star. Risks 712. 25 July 2015
USA: Rail whistleblower awarded $1.25 million
A US union representative who was fired after raising serious concerns about railway safety has been awarded $1.25 million by a federal jury in after a six-day trial. The former union and safety official proved he was targeted and fired by Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) on a pretext in 2011 after reporting dozens of safety violations to federal authorities.
Seattle Times. Risks 711. 18 July 2015
Britain: Fees for employment tribunals still put people off
Fees of up to £1,200 to start an employment tribunal case are still deterring people from challenging illegal employment abuses at work, the TUC has warned. Responding to a report by Acas on the first year of the early conciliation process, TUC general secretary Frances O''Grady said: “This research confirms that people are having as many problems at work as ever.”
TUC news release. Acas news release and report, Acas Conciliation for Individual Dispute Resolution: Evaluation of Early Conciliation 2014/15. Risks 710. 11 July 2015
Britain: Police refuse to come clean on undercover spies
The Metropolitan Police is refusing to respond to questions about its use of undercover officers to infiltrate union meetings about safety and other issues. Construction union UCATT said the refusal to answer its Freedom of Information requests was “reprehensible” and “underlines the urgent need for a full public inquiry into blacklisting.” UCATT news release. Morning Star. Risks 709. 4 July 2015
Britain: UNISON ‘sorely disappointed'' after safety rep sacking
A company''s decision to uphold the sacking of a UNISON representative after he raised serious safety concerns at work has ‘sorely disappointed'' the union. UNISON health and safety rep Robert O''Donnell was dismissed in May from his job at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC).
UNISON Scotland news release. Morning Star. Risks 707. 20 June 2015
[victim] Britain: Picket over ‘safety'' sacking of conductor
Grimsby Labour MP Melanie Onn has lent her support to a Grimsby train conductor sacked following an incident with an antisocial young person who was behaving dangerously on the side of his train. The MP said there was a “sense of injustice” over the dismissal.
RMT picket photo. Grimsby Telegraph. Risks 707. 20 June 2015
Britain: Union rejects blacklisting pay offs
Blacklisted workers have rejected a “derisory” compensation offer from construction firms trying to head off embarrassing and potentially costly action in the courts. After a preliminary court hearing last month, leading up to the scheduled two-month trial set for May 2016, solicitors acting for major construction firms offered a group of 11 workers blacklisted for their union and site safety activities settlements ranging from £10,000 to £60,000, adding up to £415,000 in total.
Morning Star. The Guardian. Evening Times. LabourList. Risks 706. 13 June 2015
Britain: BSG wants key role in undercover policing inquiry
The Blacklist Support Group (BSG) is applying to the Home Office for ‘core participant'' status in the Pitchford public inquiry into failures in undercover policing. The move follows claims in the book ‘Blacklisted'' by BSG secretary Dave Smith and investigative journalist Phil Chamberlain that undercover police officers spied on trade union activists from the construction industry and intelligence gathered was passed onto major construction firms.
Blacklist Blog. Risks 704. 30 May 2015
Britain: Cornered firms destroyed blacklisting evidence
There was stunned silence followed by audible gasps in the High Court last week when a barrister read out documentary evidence indicating that major firms had deliberately set out to destroy evidence of their complicity in a blacklisting conspiracy. Unions UNITE, UCATT and GMB and the law firm Guney, Clark and Ryan, acting for the Blacklist Support Group (BSG), are representing 581 blacklisted union members in group litigation against 40 of the UK''s largest construction firms, including Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd, Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Kier, Costain, Laing O''Rourke, Vinci, Skanska and Bam.
Blacklist blog. GMB news release. Risks 703. 23 May 2015
Britain: Groups demand ‘ethical'' public procurement
New public procurement rules in Scotland must tackle issues including blacklisting, zero hours contracts and climate change, according to a broad-based coalition. International development charities, environmental groups, voluntary organisations and trade unions are demanding that Scotland''s annual procurement spend of around £10 billion should promote key sustainable and ethical policy objectives.
Unite Scotland news release and the ‘Ten Asks'' document. Risks 702. 16 May 2015.
Britain: Green activists back blacklisted workers
A key blacklisting court case returned to the High Court this week, with 500 blacklisted workers taking on over 40 of the UK''s largest construction companies. The group litigation brings together cases backed by unions and the Blacklist Support Group, and is being backed by environmental activists who were on a parallel ‘greenlist''.
Blacklist blog. Risks 702. 16 May 2015.
Britain: Tribunal victory for blacklisted Unite rep
John Kelly, a rigger/erector and Unite member who was blacklisted by his employer Interserve Industrial Services because of his union activities while working at a Runcorn power station, has won his employment tribunal (ET) case for unfair dismissal. Unite hailed the ruling as ‘a great victory which draws a line in the sand'' for construction industry bosses who victimise union representatives.
Unite news release and full ET judgment. Liverpool Echo. Risks 700. 2 May 2015
Britain: Postal workers warned about the blacklist
Postal workers have been urged to make official requests for any information held about them if they suspect their names were kept on a blacklist of thousands of workers. Dave Smith, secretary of the Blacklist Support Group, told a packed fringe meeting at the annual conference of the communications union CWU: “We knew people were being unfairly dismissed for trade union activities... There are almost certainly people in this hall who are on this list.”
CWU news release. ITV News. Risks 700. 2 May 2015
Britain: Welcome for Labour gangmaster and blacklisting pledges
Construction union UCATT has welcomed pledges in Labour''s manifesto to crackdown on exploitation by gangmasters and to end blacklisting. Steve Murphy, general secretary of UCATT, said: “These pledges demonstrate Labour is on the side of construction workers and that a Labour government will act to prevent exploitation and will deliver justice to workers who have been blacklisted.”
Labour Party manifesto 2015 [pdf]. Green Party manifesto. Plaid Cymru manifesto. UCATT news release. Risks 698. 18 April 2015
Britain: Unions welcome MPs'' blacklisting inquiry call
A ‘damning'' report by a House of Commons select committee calling for a public inquiry into construction industry ‘blacklisting'' has been welcomed by unions. Unite said it strongly endorsed the recommendation in a March ‘Blacklisting in Employment'' final report from the Scottish Affairs Committee.
Blacklisting in Employment: Final Report, Scottish Affairs Committee, 27 March 2015. Unite news release. UCATT news release. GMB news release. Morning Star • Risks 697 • 11 April 2015
Britain: Blacklisted agency worker failed by the courts
Building firms that ran a secret and illegal blacklist of workers who were union safety activists have received a Court of Appeal let-off. The test case was brought by engineer Dave Smith, who found it almost impossible to get work after raising safety fears on construction sites.
Court of Appeal ruling, 18 March 2015. Daily Mirror. Blacklist Support Group facebook page. Risks 696. 28 March 2015
Britain: Blacklisters get off, blacklisted get arrested
Blacklisted workers have vowed to bring an “even bigger crowd” to protest against anti-union practices in the construction industry after a high profile campaigner was arrested during a peaceful demonstration addressed by blacklisted workers and union officials. Blacklist Support Group (BSG) secretary Dave Smith was arrested at the 18 March protest outside the Construction News Specialists Awards dinner at the Hilton Hotel in London''s Park Lane, where they called for the reinstatement a union activist who complained about unsafe conditions on the Crossrail project.
Morning Star. Reel News video coverage of the arrest. John McDonnell MP on twitter. USi Live. ‘Blacklisted'' book. Early Day Motion 899, Covert surveillance of trade unions. Risks 696. 28 March 2015
Britain: Covert police unit spied on union members
An undercover police unit that monitored political groups over a 40 year period gathered intelligence on members of at least five trade unions, a whistleblower has revealed. Former undercover police officer Peter Francis said he spent four years spying on political activists.
Home Office news release. CWU news release. GMB news release. UCATT news release. The Guardian, including full text of the statement from Peter Francis. The Mirror. Morning Star.
Change.org petition calling on Theresa May to ensure the OSA is not used against inquiry whistleblowers.
Blacklisted: the secret war between big business and trade union activists, New Internationalist, March 2015. ISBN 978-1-78026-257-4. eBook ISBN: 978-1-78026-258-1. £9.99. Book video trailer. Risks 695. 21 March 2015
Britain: No public contracts for blacklisters says union
Construction union UCATT says companies involved in blacklisting can and should be barred from public procurement projects. The union is advising its members how to lobby public sector bodies such as local authorities and NHS Trusts to persuade them to adopt policies that will prevent companies involved in blacklisting from tendering for contracts.
UCATT news release and guide. Morning Star. Risks 694. 14 March 2015.
Britain: Kier boss targeted for his blacklisting role
Campaigners against construction industry blacklisting of trade unionists raising safety and other concerns on site have demonstrated outside the offices of a key firm involved in the practice. The latest leg of GMB''s ‘crocodile tears'' tour arrived on 10 March at the Plymouth offices of construction giant Kier, whose former boss Danny O''Sullivan was involved in blacklisting and was identified over 100 times in a secret blacklister''s database.
GMB news release. Morning Star. Risks 694. 14 March 2015.
Blacklisted – the story of a secret war
A new book, ‘Blacklisted: the secret war between big business and trade union activists'', delivers a searing indictment of the collusion between the state and the construction industry that saw thousands blacklisted. Authors Dave Smith – a founder-member of the Blacklist Support Group – and investigative journalist Phil Chamberlain reveal how objecting to deadly working conditions could get you thrown out of work for good.
Blacklisted: the secret war between big business and trade union activists, New Internationalist, March 2015. ISBN 978-1-78026-257-4. eBook ISBN: 978-1-78026-258-1. £9.99. Book video trailer. Risks 693. 7 March 2015
Britain: Police implicated in blacklisting spies scandal
An undercover officer with the Metropolitan Police''s Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) infiltrated UCATT and spied on members, the union has discovered. It says the revelation raises fresh questions about the role of the police in the blacklisting of trade unionists, an illegal practice frequently targeting workers who raised health and safety concerns. UCATT news release. The Guardian. The Mirror. Risks 693. 7 March 20152015
Britain: Latest steps towards justice for blacklisted workers
Construction unions have renewed their appeal for blacklisted workers to come forward and join a claim for compensation for those whose lives were wrecked as a result. The Morning Star reports that UCATT and GMB have both issued the call after an initial court hearing on the compensation claims.
Morning Star. Liverpool Echo. Risks 692. 28 February 2015
Britain: Thumbs up from unions to whistleblowing proposals
Health unions have welcomed recommendations on whistleblowing made by Sir Robert Francis. He has said that every NHS trust in England should appoint a guardian to support whistleblowers after warning that staff too often faced "bullying and being isolated" when they tried to speak out.
BBC News Online. Risks 691. 21 February 2015
USA: Record levels of mine whistleblower victimisation
The US mine safety regulator MSHA took action on a record 49 safety whistleblower cases last year. The cases filed with the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission (FMSHRC) involved allegations of discrimination made by miners who were fired, suspended of victimised for raising safety concerns.
MSHA news release. Risks 689. 7 February 2015
Britain: Blundering CIPD official in the firing line
A top official of the professional body for human resources managers has found himself in the firing line after telling a conference that blacklisting of trade unionists is a “big fuss about very little.” Mike Emmott, a senior employee relations adviser with the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD), was a keynote speaker at the 50th anniversary conference of the Manchester Industrial Relations Society on 21 November.
GMB news release • Blacklist blog • Morning Star • Risks 682 • 29 November 2014
Britain: Police ‘covered up'' links with union blacklisting
Scotland Yard has been accused of covering up its involvement in the blacklisting of more than 3,200 construction workers. The charge came after the emergence of minutes of a meeting between a senior officer in the Metropolitan Police anti-extremism unit and the organisation operating the blacklist.
The Observer • The Guardian • Risks 680 • 15 November 2014
Britain: CIPD ‘shamed'' by blacklisting inaction
Five years of failing to act against blacklisting has left the professional organisation for human resources managers “shamed” for failing to address “the rot in its own ranks”, GMB has said. Protesting outside the 6 November conference of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) in Manchester, the union said the body “now appears little more than a self-serving organisation happy to take its members affiliations without question about who they are and what they have done.”
GMB news release • Risks 680 • 15 November 2014
Britain: Union alarmed at employee screening service
A construction group has come under fire from a union after offering pre-employment “employee screening” to site firms. Construction union UCATT called for the postponement of the National Federation of Builders (NFB) scheme to ensure that it cannot be used to blacklist construction workers.
UCATT news release • NFB news release • Morning Star • Risks 679 • 8 November 2014
Britain: GMB launches blacklist ‘crocodile tears'' tour
The first leg of a blacklisting ‘crocodile tears'' tour organised by the union GMB will feature 10 demonstrations nationwide. The union says its intention is to name-and-shame 63 construction industry managers who have been implicated directly in the UK blacklisting scandal but who have not yet come clean and apologised for their actions.
GMB news release and Leeds, Darlington and Wolverhampton updates • Construction Enquirer • Blacklist Support Group Facebook page • Risks 677 • 25 October 2014
Britain: Police 'neither confirm nor deny' blacklisting role
Campaigners against the construction industry blacklist have reacted with anger after the Metropolitan Police (MPS) refused to ‘neither confirm nor deny'' (NCND) whether the Blacklist Support Group has been the subject of surveillance by undercover police units including Special Branch. Blacklist Support Group secretary Dave Smith said: “The refusal to provide any information whatsoever smacks of an establishment cover-up.”
Blacklist Blog • Morning Star • The Guardian • The Independent • Risks 676 • 18 October 2014
Britain: Date set for new hearing on tribunal fees
A new judicial review launched by UNISON over the introduction of employment tribunal fees is set to be heard at the High Court on 21-22 October 2014. It follows the decision of the Court of Appeal last month to stay the appeal of the earlier High Court decision over tribunal fees, in light of new evidence showing a huge drop in tribunal claims.
UNISON news release • Risks 676 • 18 October 2014
Britain: Construction boss sidesteps blacklisting protest
Construction workers kept the Labour Party conference a blacklister-free zone after a senior manager of a firm linked to the illegal practice was a no-show at a conference fringe meeting. Lend Lease residential chief Richard Cook had been due to speak at a 22 September meeting on house building organised by Labour List, but a planned protest by UCATT delegates angered over the construction firm''s alleged links to blacklisting led Cook to opt out.
Morning Star • Risks 674 • 4 October 2014
Britain: Green light for new tribunal fees challenge
The Lord Chancellor has given the public sector union UNISON the go-ahead for a new challenge to the government''s tribunal fees system. In a hearing at the Court of Appeal, the Lord Chancellor agreed with the union that a new hearing should take place as soon as possible, in light of new evidence.
UNISON news release • Personnel Today • Risks 673 • 27 September 2014
Britain: Glasgow protest over ‘preferred'' blacklister
The Scottish government should intervene and reverse the decision of Dundee City Council to name blacklist linked construction firm BAM as the ‘preferred bidder'' for a major construction contract in the city, the union GMB has said. The union''s general secretary Paul Kenny delivered a letter by hand to the Glasgow constituency office of Nichola Sturgeon, the Scottish government''s deputy first minister, during a 16 September protest over Dundee City Council''s announcement that BAM Construction is its preferred bidder for the £45m tender to build Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum of Design.
GMB news release • Risks 672 • 20 September 2014
Britain: Tribunal fees are denying workers access to justice
New employment tribunal statistics show that the system of charging upfront fees is resulting in a major drop in claims. Describing the fees system as “a victory for Britain''s bad bosses”, the TUC said workers, who can be required to pay up to £1,200 for taking a tribunal complaint about issues including victimisation for workplace safety activities, were being priced out of justice.
TUC news release • CBI news release • Usdaw news release • Risks 672 • 20 September 2014
Global: Thai trial of UK researcher is ‘indefensible''
Global union organisations have condemned the trial of a British human rights defender Andy Hall, which opened in Thailand on 3 September, as a clear example of victimisation and cover up. Andy Hall is facing criminal and civil cases of criminal defamation, which have been brought against him by Thailand''s Natural Fruit Company following his research into the company.
UNI news release • ITF news release • Join the LabourStart campaign for Andy Hall • Risks 671 • 13 September 2014
Britain: Labour action pledge on tribunals and blacklisting
A future Labour government will review the system of employment tribunal fees introduced by the current administration and is “open” to making blacklisting a criminal offence, the TUC''s Liverpool conference has heard.
UCATT news release • Morning Star • Risks 671 • 13 September 2014
Britain: Anger as ‘blacklister'' BAM chosen for V&A job
The selection of BAM Construction as the preferred bidder to build the V&A museum in Dundee has provoked a row over its role in a blacklisting scandal. The meeting of Dundee city council's policy and resources committee that awarded the job to BAM saw objections raised by unions and opposition councillors, who say the decision flies in the face of the Scottish government''s policy on blacklisting and public procurement.
GMB news release • UCATT news release • BBC News Online • STV News • Risks 671 • 13 September 2014
Britain: ICO ‘in contempt of court'' on blacklisting, says GMB
The Information Commissioner''s Office (ICO) is “in contempt of court” for not enabling unions to contact blacklisted workers directly, the union GMB has charged. GMB started enforcement proceedings in the High Court on 5 September over ICO''s failure to comply with a High Court ruling that it hand over to trades unions the addresses of workers blacklisted by construction companies.
GMB news release • Risks 671 • 13 September 2014
Britain: GMB anger at ‘cut price'' blacklist scheme
The union GMB has described an industry compensation scheme for blacklisted construction workers as “grossly inadequate.” The scheme, offering payments between £4,000 and £100,000, as been dismissed as “a damage limitation publicity stunt” by the union.
GMB news release • BBC News Online. The Herald • Risks 669 • 30 August 2014
Britain: Call for a bar on contracts for blacklisters in Scotland
The union GMB is calling for all firms behind a construction blacklisting scandal to be excluded from tendering for any further public sector contracts in Scotland until they compensate the 582 workers in the country they blacklisted. The union is stepping up its campaign in the wake of a Scottish government letter to construction firms publicising official guidelines on blacklisting and public sector contracts.
GMB news release • Risks 668 • 23 August 2014
Britain: Blacklister loses council repairs contract
Islington Council has become the first to apply a ‘no blacklisters'' clause, with construction firm Kier losing its housing repairs contract. The council has ended the £16.5 million-a-year contract with construction firm Kier, which had been running the service for 14 years.
Unite news release • Morning Star • Risks 666 • 9 August 2014
Britain: Cambridge bars blacklisters from council work
Cambridge City Council has become the latest to bar firms linked to a blacklisting scandal from being awarded public contracts. The union GMB welcomed the unanimously vote by the council on 24 July to stop companies who have engaged in blacklisting from being awarded Council contracts until they take steps “to remedy blacklisting for all affected workers” and “to ensure blacklisting will not happen again.”
GMB news release • Risks 665 • 2 August 2014
Britain: Tribunal fees a ‘huge victory'' for the worst bosses
Employment tribunal fees have been a huge victory for Britain''s worst bosses, according to a new TUC report. ‘What price justice?'' shows that since the introduction of fees on 29 July 2013 there has been a 79 per cent fall in overall claims taken to employment tribunals, with women and low-paid workers the worst affected.
TUC news release and full report, What price justice? • Risks 665 • 2 August 2014
Thailand: Nation ‘on trial'' in food industry scandal
The integrity of Thailand is ‘on trial'' after it allowed a company to prosecute a human rights defender who exposed modern day slavery in its canned fruit and fishing industry, a global union has said. The International Transport Workers'' Federation (ITF) is demanding that charges against Andy Hall, a UK citizen who is due to stand trial in September on charges of criminal defamation, be dropped.
ITF news release • Andy Hall blog • Risks 664 • 26 July 2014
Britain: Cameron says ‘no'' to blacklisting inquiry
The prime minister has confirmed he will not support a public inquiry into blacklisting of union reps for raising safety and other concerns on site. Asked if there should be a public inquiry, the prime minister said: “As I say I think enforcing the law that we have now is the most important thing.”
Blacklist blog • BBC News Online • Scottish Affairs Committee blacklisting inquiry • Risks 664 • 26 July 2014
Britain: Blacklisters lose another round in the justice battle
In a victory for trade unions and anti-blacklisting campaigners, a High Court judge has ruled that hundreds of blacklisting compensation claims can be heard together in a class action. The cases will be managed by a steering committee comprising solicitors acting for the unions UCATT, Unite and GMB and the Blacklist Support Group.
GMB news release • UCATT news release • Morning Star • Construction Enquirer • The Independent • Risks 663 • 19 July 2014
Britain: Scheming site firms try to bypass blacklist justice
Unions have condemned a “cynical” industry-controlled compensation scheme for blacklisted construction workers launched last week ahead of this week''s continuation of a High Court compensation case. Construction union UCATT general secretary Steve Murphy said: “This is a deeply cynical attempt by the blacklisting companies to try to prevent workers, who have had their lives ruined, getting justice.”
GMB news release. UCATT news release and blacklisting guidance. Morning Star. Construction Enquirer • Risks 662 • 12 July 2014
Britain: Tribunal fees ‘price workers out of justice''
Employers who victimise, bully, harass or cheat their workers are increasingly likely to escape punishment as people wronged at work are prevented from seeking justice by the high cost of taking an employment tribunal case, unions have said. Citing figures published by the Ministry of Justice on 12 June, the TUC said that the 59 per cent drop in the number of single claims being taken to employment tribunals – from 13,739 between January and March 2013 to 5,619 in the first three months of 2014 – showed that fees were deterring many workers from taking their employers to court.
TUC news release • UNISON news release • Risks 659 • 21 June 2014
Britain: High Court throws out blacklisters'' cheap name grab
Construction bosses were sent packing at the High Court on 11 June, when a judge threw out their bid to bypass negotiations with unions and pay blacklisted workers a pittance in compensation for years without employment. The firms proposing The Construction Workers Compensation Scheme wanted the Information Commissioner to hand over the current home addresses of trade unionists and political activists those same firms had systematically kept off building sites.
GMB news release • UCATT news release • Morning Star • Risks 659 • 21 June 2014
Britain: New demo at blacklisting agency''s HQ
A second demonstration has been held at the Northampton HQ of a Danish-owned agency labour provider linked to blacklisting. Construction union UCATT held the Friday 13 June protest outside the offices of employment agency Atlanco Rimec, accused on Danish TV last month of operating a secret blacklist denying work to trade union members.
UCATT news release • Risks 659 • 21 June 2014
Britain: Court clash over blacklisting compensation scheme
Construction unions have successfully blocked moves by major contractors to contact blacklisted workers directly with compensation offers. Lawyers representing the firms involved in setting up The Construction Workers Compensation Scheme in October last year applied to the High Court to use the blacklisting database of 3,213 names to contact listed workers, but were told it could break the solicitors'' code of conduct.
GMB news release • Construction Enquirer • Western Daily Press • 14 June 2014
Britain: Union blasts 'grossly inadequate' blacklisting offer
A ‘grossly inadequate'' compensation deal proposed by eight major blacklisting construction firms could see talks with unions collapse, GMB has said. The union says the Construction Workers Compensation Scheme''s proposed £15m-£20m compensation pot would mean payouts of just £16,000 to £20,000.
GMB news release • Morning Star • Construction Enquirer • Risks 657 • 7 June 2014
Britain: Blacklisted workers occupy blacklister''s office
Unions Unite and UCATT joined the Blacklist Support Group to occupy the UK head office of the Danish owned employment agency Atlanco Rimec. The employment agency was exposed on Danish TV for keeping a secret blacklist of workers who joined a trade union and denied them work.
Morning Star • Risks 656 • 31 May 2014
Global: International jobs agency blacklist exposed
An international recruitment agency operating in the UK kept a secret database of workers it used to operate a blacklist, a Danish TV investigation has found. DR1 reporters found that workers in trade unions or seeking better pay and conditions were typically not given jobs by Atlanco Rimec even when described as “good” or “excellent” workers, while a former manager speaking anonymously described union members as “a complete no-no.”
GMB news release • UCATT news release • Morning Star • Risks 655 • 24 May 2014
Britain: Direct employment ‘key'' to stamping out site blacklists
The continued use of agency workers is a ‘weak spot'' in the efforts to end the blacklisting of construction workers for their safety and union roles, a parliamentary committee has warned. Launching the latest report of the Scottish Affairs Committee probe into the problem, committee chair Ian Davidson said: “We are very disappointed that the government has rejected our recommendation for direct employment on all publicly funded construction projects and for transparent recruitment and employment practices – even though they have asked us to take more evidence.”
Scottish Affairs Committee news release and Blacklisting in Employment update • Risks 655 • 24 May 2014
Britain: Lessons ‘not learned'' from the blacklisting scandals
The government has not learnt the lessons of a parliamentary probe into the blacklisting scandal, the union Unite has said. Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “We''re disappointed that the employment minister Jenny Willott has not supported the Scottish Affairs Committee''s recommendations on direct employment and self-cleaning.”
Unite news release • Risks 654 • 17 May 2014
Britain: Don''t fall for blacklisting payouts scam
Blacklisted workers are being told to steer clear of a compensation scheme set up by construction firms but not agreed with unions. Unions Unite and UCATT say the scheme is too restricted, too mean and won''t deliver justice.
UNITE news release • UCATT news release• Risks 651 • 26 April 2014
Britain: Standing up for site workers - and their safety
One of the biggest names in the UK construction industry has pledged to support efforts to achieve a “fair resolution for the injustice” suffered by blacklisted workers. Caroline Murphy, who this week resigned from the board of Murphy Group, the construction giant founded by her father, said: “It has been my experience as deputy chair of the Murphy Group of construction companies, that safety and quality are inextricably linked.”
TUC Stronger Unions blog • Caroline Murphy blog and news release • Construction Enquirer • Risks 648 • 29 March 2014
Britain: Commons committee says ‘blacklist the blacklisters''
Firms that blacklist workers jeopardise workplace safety and should be banned from publicly funded contracts and their victims compensated, MPs have said. The House of Commons Scottish Affairs Select Committee''s damning 14 March 2014 report of its investigation into the blacklisting scandal – which followed a campaign for justice by unions and the Blacklist Support Group - says that just ending blacklisting is not enough. House of Commons Scottish Affairs Select Committee report • Risks 647 • 22 March 2014
Britain: Crunch time for the blacklisters
Unions and blacklisting campaigners have said a report from MPs calling for justice for workers victimised by construction firms should be the catalyst for meaningful action at last.
Unite news release • GMB news release • Blacklist blog • Construction Enquirer • Risks 647 • 22 March 2014
Britain: Ineos ‘likely'' to have unfairly sacked union rep
Petrochemicals giant Ineos needs to start treating its workforce with respect and ensuring no trade union officials are victimised, the union Unite has said. The union call came after an interim employment tribunal last week ruled in favour of sacked Grangemouth convenor Mark Lyon.
Unite news release • Risks 646 • 15 March 2014
Russia: Pilots locked in dogfight with Aeroflot bosses
Aeroflot pilots are being left out in the cold following a long-standing safety dispute between their union and the management, with three union leaders now threatened with jail. The Equal Times online journal reports that Russia''s biggest airline carrier is under intense pressure from labour rights groups who say the company is putting lives at risk by refusing to listen to the safety concerns of pilots.
Equal Times • Sign up to the LabourStart online campaign to call for the release of Shlyapnikov, Pimoshenko and Knysho • Risks 644 • 1 March 2014
Britain: Attempted citizen''s arrest of blacklist boss
The Blacklist Support Group has attempted to serve a Citizen''s Arrest Warrant on Callum McAlpine, the first ever chair of the covert and illegal blacklister the Consulting Association. The arrest bid on Friday 21 February - the fifth anniversary of the raid on the Consulting Association by the Information Commissioner''s Office - took place at the Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd London offices.
Reel News coverage • Blacklist blog • Morning Star • Construction Enquirer.
Families Against Blacklisting Group, facebook page • Risks 644 • 1 March 2014
Britain: Stronger laws needed to end blacklisting
Blacklisting of workplace safety reps and activists will only be stamped out if stronger laws are introduced, construction union UCATT has said. Steve Murphy, the union''s general secretary, made the call in evidence last week to the Scottish Affairs select committee as part of its ongoing investigation into blacklisting.
UCATT news release • Risks 640 • 1 February 2014
Britain: BBC slammed for ongoing bullying failures
Workers at the BBC have said they are “disappointed and angry” at the media giant''s failure to abide by recommendations to tackle its bullying culture. A motion from NUJ union reps at the BBC, addressed to director general Tony Hall, was prompted by the corporation''s failure to act on the recommendations of the Dinah Rose review of bullying. NUJ news release • Risks 639 • 25 January 2014
Britain: Blacklisting case exposes dangerous loophole
A High Court judge had accepted a UCATT safety rep blacklisted for his safety activities was treated unjustly, but has ruled he has no legal redress because he was an agency employee. Dave Smith, a founder member of the union-backed Blacklist Support Group, was repeatedly dismissed and refused work after his name appeared on The Consulting Association blacklist.
Blacklist blog. CIPD news report •
Smith v Carillion (JM) Ltd & Anor (Contract of Employment : Whether established)  UKEAT 0081_13_1701, 17 January 2014 • Risks 639 • 25 January 2014
Britain: Unite telephone hotline for blacklisted workers
Unite has set-up a special ‘hotline'' for blacklisted workers. The union “is urging those that receive the shock revelations not to fall for employer attempts to lock them into a compensation scheme called The Workers Compensation Scheme, which is not yet ready, has not been agreed by the unions, and any compensation could fall far short of what the victims could otherwise get through union representation.”
Unite hotline and EDF Energy news releases • Risks 637 • 11 January 2014
Britain: Blacklisting claims held up in the courts
An application to roll all four High Court blacklisting cases into one ‘super case'' has been postponed by a judge until April 2014. The court''s senior master Steven Whitaker suggested that the two newest cases - which were launched by UCATT and Unite in November – are not sufficiently advanced and ruled that he would make the GLO next April.
Building • GMB news release • Risks 634 • 7 December 2013
Britain: New tactics see directors face doorstep protests
Unite is championing new ‘leverage'' techniques to get companies to take safety and other union concerns more seriously. The methods, which include demonstrations outside the homes and offices of company directors, were used to startling effect in the recent Crossrail blacklisting dispute says the union.
Unite organising webpages • Construction Enquirer • Risks 631 • 16 November 2013
Britain: Workers target blacklister Laing O''Rourke
Protesters targeted a Liverpool building project run by Laing O'Rourke on 9 November following a tragic death on one of the construction giant''s London projects. Members of the union-backed Blacklist Support Group (BSG) said they were outraged at the company''s refusal to allow the union access to its projects, including the site of the Francis Crick Institute in London where the death occurred.
Unite Politics – take action on blacklisting • UCATT news release • BWI news release • Sky News • Morning Star • Risks 631 • 16 November 2013
Britain: TUC Blacklisting Day of Action, 20 November
The TUC is organising a national day of action on 20 November calling on blacklisting firms to “own up, pay up and clean up”. The 'Cheesegrater' building under construction in central London, another Laing O'Rourke site, is among those in the capital to be targeted. Unions want a Leveson-style inquiry into the scandal.
TUC Blacklisting Day of Action, 20 November, webpages • Events listing for the TUC Day of Action on Blacklisting • 16 November 2013
Britain: Blacklisting compensation scheme a ‘travesty''
The industry-proposed compensation scheme for victims of blacklisting is a blatant attempt to gag affected workers, the union UCATT has said. It added the scheme in its current form “would represent a complete travesty of justice,” while a Blacklist Support Group spokesperson said: “We will settle for offers of employment, full compensation and a public inquiry into this squalid conspiracy.”
UCATT news release • Blacklist blog • Construction Enquirer • Morning Star • Express and Star • Risks 630 • 9 November 2013
Britain: AMEC ‘should apologise'' over blacklisting
The union GMB has condemned construction giant AMEC's failure to apologise for its involvement in an illegal blacklisting scandal. It says AMEC should join Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O''Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and Vinci, who apologised for their involvement with the blacklist and announced the creation of The Construction Workers Compensation Scheme.
GMB news release • Risks 627 • 19 October 2013
Britain: Cross-party support for union blacklisting campaign
A Conservative MP has backed the union campaign against blacklisting and supported calls for compensation for affected workers and a bar on public sector contracts for blacklisting firms. Stephen McPartland, the MP for Stevenage, told the House of Commons on 16 October that he and the Labour MP for Luton North, Kelvin Hopkins, will shortly contact the 44 firms that paid to access the blacklist held by The Consulting Association.
Blacklisting debate, Hansard coverage for 16 October 2013 • The Observer • Morning Star • Risks 627 • 19 October 2013
Britain: Union urges action on police links to blacklist
The union GMB has said it intends to go to the courts next week to lift the lid on alleged police involvement in the construction blacklist scandal. GMB want the Home Office to be forced to supply information about officers who gave workers'' details to a firm compiling the secret list.
GMB news release • The Mirror • Risks 628 • 26 October 2013
Britain: ICO admits it has proof of another blacklist
The Information Commissioner''s Office (ICO) has confirmed it holds documents relating to another blacklist in the construction industry. The confirmation came in a letter from ICO deputy commissioner David Smith to Ian Davidson MP, chair of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee investigation into blacklisting.
Blacklist blog • UCATT news release • People Management • Risks 628 • 26 October 2013
Britain: Blacklisters bow to union pressure
A high profile campaign by unions and campaigners has forced Britain''s eight largest construction industry blacklisters to apologise and agree to a compensation scheme. But while the companies have apologised for their involvement with an organisation that kept a list uncovered in a raid by the Information Commissioner's Office in 2009, they have not admitted liability.
GMB blacklisting campaign • Blacklist Support Group news release • The Guardian • BBC News Online • Herald Scotland • Construction Enquirer • Risks 626 • 12 October 2013
Britain: Tell blacklisters to own up, pay up and clean up!
Despite over four years passing since 44 construction firms were exposed as blacklisters, thousands of victimised site workers are still waiting for justice. As part of the day of action organised by the TUC and unions, there will be a lobby of parliament on 20 November, to put pressure on MPs to hold an inquiry.
TUC news release • Blacklist blog • GMB • UCATT and Unite blacklist campaign webpages • Risks 625 • 5 October 2013
Britain: Unions welcome Labour blacklisting inquiry
The Labour Party aims to launch a “full inquiry” into the “disgraceful” practice of blacklisting in the building industry, if the present government does not, a senior party figure has said. Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna outlined the plan a Labour''s conference this week.
TUC Stronger Unions blog • UCATT news release • The Guardian • The Mirror •
Blacklist Support Group facebook page • Risks 624 • 28 September 2013
Britain: Blacklister ousted from Labour conference
Construction unions have welcomed a decision by the Labour Party to bar blacklisting construction firm Carillion from its conference. A stand originally allocated to the construction giant was taken over by UCATT, after the Labour executive withdrew the Carillion invitation and was used by UCATT to promote the anti-blacklisting campaign and the campaign for Justice for the Shrewsbury Pickets.
UCATT news release • GMB news release and blacklisters'' list • Risks 624 • 28 September 2013
Britain: Workers told to pay for justice
The TUC has slammed new plans to make workers with household savings of £3,000 pay the full cost of going to an employment tribunal. The fees introduced on 29 July mean workers can be required to pay up to £1,200 for taking a tribunal complaint about issues including victimisation for safety activities, sexual harassment or race discrimination.
TUC news release • Risks 622 • 14 September 2013
Britain: Blacklisters must ‘own up, clean up and pay up''
The TUC is to hold a national day of action against blacklisting on Wednesday 20 November. Protests will be held up and down the country and there will be lobby of parliament in London.
TUC news release • TUC Stronger Unions blog • Unite news release • GMB news release • UCATT news release • The Guardian • The Independent • The Mirror • TUC news release • Risks 622 • 14 September 2013
Britain: Welsh government acts to ‘eradicate'' blacklisting
Public sector bodies in Wales can exclude blacklisters from bidding for public sector contracts under new Welsh government guidance, finance minister Jane Hutt has announced. A Procurement Advice Note has been issued to all Welsh public bodies to outline the necessary steps that can be taken through procurement “to help eradicate blacklisting – which can be very damaging to the careers and livelihoods of trade unionists,” the Welsh government said.
Welsh government news release • Unite news release • UCATT news release • GMB news release • Wales Online • The Guardian and related commentary from Ricky Tomlinson • The Mirror • TUC news release • Risks 622 • 14 September 2013
Britain: Frank success for blacklisting campaign!
An electrician sacked in what his union believes was a clear case of blacklisting after raising health and safety concerns has been reinstated. Unite member Frank Morris was dismissed last September from the Crossrail project.
Unite and BFK joint statement • Stronger Unions blog • Blacklist blog • Construction Enquirer • Risks 621 • 7 September 2013
Britain: Union warning on offshore blacklists
An offshore culture that has left North Sea oil workers fearful of speaking up about safety concerns in case they are blacklisted by employers must change, union leaders have warned. Bob Crow, general secretary of the union RMT, said: “There is a lack of trust and it's not surprising given a history of blacklisting by employers. The use of NRB [not-required-back] labelling has left some petrified that their careers could come to an end.”
The Guardian • Blacklist blog • Risks 621 • 7 September 2013
Britain: Police ‘cover-up'' their blacklisting role
Unions and campaigners have called for a ‘Leveson-style'' inquiry after new evidence emerged that police are involved in a ‘cover-up'' of their participation in a blacklisting scandal. The demand came after the Guardian reported it had seen evidence that the police gathered intelligence on trade union activists and passed the information to The Consulting Association, a clandestine blacklisting agency that unlawfully stored secret files on thousands of workers.
Blacklist blog • The Guardian and related commentary • GMB news release • The Mirror • Morning Star • Risks 619 • 24 August 2013
[victimns] Global: No escape for blacklisters as union goes stateside
A company linked to the Crossrail blacklisting controversy has found itself receiving unwanted attention in the US, where it has been pursued by the union Unite. A delegation from the UK union travelled to Chicago last week to inform decision makers involved in the Chicago Midway Airport privatisation about Ferrovial''s involvement in ‘blacklisting'' on the London Crossrail project.
Unite news release • Risks 619 • 24 August 2013
Britain: McAlpine names rivals in blacklist defence
Sir Robert McAlpine has added at least nine other contractors as co-defendants against a multi-million pound legal action by blacklisted building workers. The nine major contractors added to the list of defendants are Balfour Beatty, BAM, Carillion, Costain, Laing O''Rourke, Kier, Skanska, Vinci and AMEC; when subsidiaries are included, the list runs to 34 firms.
Blacklist blog • Construction Enquirer • Guney, Clark and Ryan blacklisting webpages • Risks 617 • 10 August 2013
Britain: Unions protest over new tribunal fees
Union protests marked the introduction on 29 July of new fees of up to £1,200 for workers taking employment tribunal cases against their employers. The charges apply to tribunal complaints about issues including victimisation for safety activities, sexual harassment or race discrimination. has given a green light to bad employers to continue exploiting their staff.”
TUC news release • TUC Touchstone blog • Unite news release • GMB news release • BECTU news release • The Guardian • The Mirror • Risks 616 • 3 August 2013
Britain: UNISON to challenge tribunal fees
A ruling by the Royal Courts of Justice has given UNISON permission for a Judicial Review hearing in October to challenge the government''s new tribunal fees.
UNISON news release • Risks 616 • 3 August 2013
Britain: The government is making blacklisting easier
The TUC has warned that while the government has condemned an apparent blacklist of Crossrail construction workers, it is making it easier to sack people. TUC leader Frances O''Grady said it was “not enough” for business secretary Vince Cable to refer the issue to the Information Commissioner, particularly as through undermining the tribunal system “he is part of a government that is making it harder for employees to speak out against injustice.”
The Guardian article and Frances O''Grady comment • Morning Star • Risks 616 • 3 August 2013
Britain: Proper probe needed into Crossrail blacklisting
The TUC has backed calls from the Scottish Affairs Select Committee for a formal investigation into claims of 'blacklisting' on the Crossrail project. Business secretary Vince Cable referred the blacklisting issue to the Information Commissioner after a letter from the committee''s chair, Ian Davidson, advised him formal evidence heard by the committee provided “what we believe to be clear proof that blacklisting for trade union and health and safety activities has been going on within the contract for the Crossrail project run by BFK (BAM, Ferrovial and Kier).”
TUC news release • Unite news release • GMB news release • UCATT news release. BBC News Online • Morning Star • Scottish Affairs Select Committee enquiry • Risks 615 • 27 July 2013
Britain: Unite tells MPs about the Crossrail ‘blacklist''
The blacklisting of workers on Europe's largest construction project is on-going, “organised and systematic,” MPs have been told. Appearing before the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee, which is conducting an inquiry into blacklisting, Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said the evidence it was happening on London's Crossrail scheme was circumstantial but people could “join up the dots.”
Scottish Affairs Committee statement • The Herald • Risks 612 • 6 July 201
Britain: Home Office ignored job switch advice
A Home Office worker put in a job for which he was poorly suited and who occupational health advisers said should be transferred to another post has won an unfair dismissal claim. Prospect member Vaithilingam Mohanarajan, who worked as a senior scientific officer in the government department, was dismissed for poor performance, despite an occupational health report stating he had been moved to the wrong job a couple of years earlier and was “a fish out of water.”
Prospect news release • Risks 612 • 6 July 2013
Britain: Unite goes to Spain to expose ‘blacklister''
Unite members travelled to Barcelona and Madrid this week to protest at construction firm Ferrovial's involvement in blacklisting and victimisation of trade unionists working on Crossrail. The company is part of the BFK (BAM, Ferrovial and Kier) consortium running the biggest construction project in Europe.
Unite news release • Risks 611 • 29 June 2013
Britain: Unite presses for ethical action on blacklisting
The Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) is being urged to step up and investigate the abuse of its 'Base Code' by construction firms linked to blacklisting. Unite has warned ETI that failure to properly investigate Unite's six specific complaints about breaches of the 'Base Code' by the construction consortium Crossrail “will make the ETI yet again appear to be protecting and providing cover for Crossrail's interests rather than helping to protect workers.”
Unite news release • ETI base code and website • Risks 610 • 22 June 2013
Britain: Blacklisting is 20 years old and counting
The union Unite has evidence that vetting of building industry workers is ongoing, four years after the discovery of a secret list that denied people work for years. The union revelation came in a BBC Panorama programme that included the first TV interview with the woman who helped run the now-defunct blacklisting operation.
BBC News Online and BBC One - Panorama: Blacklist Britain • Morning Star • The Independent • Risks 609 • 15 June 2013
Britain: Unions to keep up the pressure on blacklisters
Unions have vowed to keep up their battle for justice from the major construction firms linked to a blacklisting scandal. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey has launched a national mobilisation against Crossrail consortium Bam Ferrovial Kier (BFK), which has included more than 350 UK protests in the past three weeks, with a thousand more planned over the next six months, and GMB has said the 70 blacklisting damages claims lodged in the High Court will be the first of several “monthly waves”.
The Guardian and related commentary from Ricky Tomlinson • Construction Manager • Risks 609 • 15 June 2013
Britain: GMB takes 70 blacklisting claims to court
A High Court case on behalf of 70 union members blacklisted by Carillion and other construction employers has commenced. Michael Newman, from Leigh Day, the law firm brought in by GMB to act in the case, said: “We are absolutely confident that the High Court will find that substantial compensation are due from the construction industry for what was effectively a black market in destroying workers'' reputations and job prospects.”
GMB news release • Leigh Day news release • Morning Star • BBC News Online and related Dirk McPherson case history • Risks 608 • 8 June 2013
Britain: Crossrail contractor faces blacklisting action
Union members have protested outside the London Central Employment Tribunal in support of a Unite rep who lost his job after raising safety concerns. In September 2012, Frank Morris was sacked from the Crossrail project along with 28 electrical workers from the subcontractor EIS.
Unite news release • Morning Star • Risks 606 • 25 May 2013
Britain: Union appeal for injured blacklisted activist
A union appeal fund has been set up for anti-blacklisting campaigner George Tapp, who was mown down and seriously injured at a demonstration by a hit and run driver. The Unite member was involved in a protest at a site operated by construction firm Bam in Manchester.
Morning Star • Socialist Worker • Greater Manchester Police statement
Donations should be sent to Salford TUC George Tapp Appeal, 84 Liverpool Road, Eccles, Salford M30 0WZ • Risks 606 • 25 May 2013
Britain: Scots government blocks progress on blacklisting
Blacklisted workers rallied at Scotland''s Holyrood parliament building as MSPs piled the pressure on government for a public inquiry. Members of the union Unite packed the public gallery for a 2 May blacklisting debate, but the debating chamber itself was nearly deserted as Labour MSP Neil Findlay led calls for a crackdown.
STUC news release • UCATT news release • Morning Star • The Courier • Risks 604 • 11 May 2013
Britain: No public contracts for blacklisters
As unions Unite and GMB and the grassroots Blacklist Support Group up the pressure on blacklisting firms with a rolling programme of demonstrations nationwide, George Tapp, a Unite member attending a protest has been seriously injured in what has been described as “a deliberate hit and run.”
Unite news release • GMB news release • Manchester Evening News • Eastern Daily Post • Watford Observer • Risks 605 • 18 May 2013
Britain: Renewed protests at Crossrail blacklisters
The Blacklist Support Group, backed by the union Unite, has staged noisy protests against firms involved in the massive Crossrail construction job. On 25 April, they appeared outside the Basingstoke office of construction and engineering giant Kier and on 2 May at the RAILTEX exhibition at London''s Earls Court Exhibition Centre, where Andrew Wolstenholme, the chief executive officer of Crossrail, was the keynote speaker.
Unite news release • The Gazette • Risks 603 • 4 May 2013
Britain: Train driver cleared of assault charges
Train driver Mick Ward, 42, who was wrongly convicted of assault last year when acting in the interests of safety, has had his conviction quashed at York Crown Court. He was joined by more than 30 of his colleagues, co-workers and fellow ASLEF members in what has been described as an ‘unprecedented'' show of support for the veteran railway worker''s fight to clear his name.
Harrogate News • Risks 602 • 27 April 2013
Britain: Unite follows blacklister BAM to Amsterdam
Shareholders attending the annual meeting of Dutch construction multinational Royal BAM received a lesson on blacklisting. They were met by placard wielding members of the union Unite at the 24 April event, who were protesting at the blacklisting and victimisation of trade unionists working on Crossrail by the company''s British subsidiary, BAM Nuttall.
Unite news release • Union News • Risks 602 • 27 April 2013
Britain: Blacklist protesters target industry awards
Blacklisting protesters from Unite and the union-backed Blacklist Support Group protested outside the National Building Awards at London''s Grosvenor Hotel. At one stage the action outside the event on 18 April blocked traffic on Park Lane.
Building magazine • Morning Star • YouTube video • Risks 602 • 27 April 2013
Blacklisters shamed in new report
The extent to which major construction companies were involved in illegal blacklisting activity for over a decade has been revealed in a report from MPs. The interim report by the Scottish Affairs Committee reveals damning evidence of the nature of the “morally indefensible” blacklisting and the lengths to which companies would go to keep it secret.
Scottish Affairs Committee news release and interim report, 16 April 2013. TUC Stronger Unions blog • Blacklist blog • Evening Standard • Construction Enquirer • Morning Star • Risks 601 • 20 April 2013
Britain: Unions welcome ongoing scrutiny of blacklisters
Unions have welcomed a commitment from MPs to continue their investigations into the blacklisting of union safety activists, and have called for justice for victims and action against those responsible. Grahame Smith, general secretary of the Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC) said: “It is time for all involved in any criminal activity to be held to account, it is not a defence to argue that individuals were acting on instructions of others.”
STUC news release • GMB news release • UCATT news release • BBC News Online • Unite news release • Risks 601 • 20 April 2013
Britain: GMB rejects Skanska''s ‘half-hearted'' offer
A statement from Skanska that it will consider claims for compensation from workers it blacklisted has been dismissed by the union GMB as a public relations stunt. The move by the Swedish construction giant came ahead of demonstration by GMB and the Blacklist Support Group last week outside Skanska''s Stockholm annual general meeting.
GMB news release • ICO blog • Risks 601 • 20 April 2013
Britain: Blacklist demo at Skanska''s Stockholm AGM
UK protesters against the construction blacklist this week targeted the annual general meeting of Swedish construction multinational Skanska. The 11 April demonstration, led by the union GMB and the Blacklist Support Group, aimed to enlist support from the company''s shareholders and the Swedish public.
GMB news release • Blacklist blog • Risks 600 • 13 April 2013
Britain: Rail worker fired for resisting an assault
A rail worker employed by London Midland was fired because he resisted a physical and verbal assault by a known troublemaker. Revenue protection officer James Crabtree was working on the gateline at Watford Junction when he asked the individual to produce a valid travel ticket.
RMT news release • Risks 600 • 13 April 2013
Britain: Crossrail targeted over blacklisting
Crossrail has become a key target of anti-blacklisting campaigners. Speaking at the annual general meeting of the Blacklist Support Group last month, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey accused Crossrail of neglecting workers'' rights and failing to investigate claims that blacklisting is taking place on the £15bn project.
Union News • Building • Evening Standard • Risks 599 • 30 March 2013
Britain: Campaigners vow to take on the blacklisters
Unions and campaigners have pledged to take on the individuals responsible for blacklisting workers for their union and site safety activities. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey and GMB general secretary Paul Kenny announced at the Blacklist Support Group's 23 March AGM in London a new front in the campaign against those who unlawfully persecute union members.
Reel News video report • Morning Star • Risks 599 • 30 March 2013
Britain: Major anti-blacklisting breakthrough
Trade unions have achieved what they describe as ‘a major breakthrough'' in the campaign against blacklisting. Employers'' representatives on the Construction Industry Joint Council (CIJC), responsible for the official union-employer industrial Working Rule Agreement which covers 500,000 construction workers, agreed on 20 March to insert a new anti-blacklisting clause, as a result of strong union pressure.
UCATT news release • Risks 598 • 23 March 2013
Britain: Blacklister Balfour Beatty is sorry it got caught
The head of construction giant Balfour Beatty has told MPs he regrets the firm getting caught blacklisting safety and union activists, but seemed less concerned about the blacklisting itself. In 12 March evidence to a House of Commons'' Scottish Affairs Committee inquiry, Mike Peasland, the company''s chief executive officer (CEO), claimed “I don''t know” in response to a series of questions from MPs about what information was fed to covert blacklister The Consulting Association, when and by whom.
Stronger Unions blog • Risks 597 • 16 March 2013
Britain: Union protest in Dundee over blacklisting
Over 200 construction workers joined a 9 March demonstration in Dundee to protest at the blacklist used by major firms to weed out workers who had raised safety concerns at work. They want the Scottish government to launch an inquiry into the practice in Scotland.
Unite news release • BBC News Online • The Courier • Risks 597 • 16 March 2013
Britain: Crossrail must answer blacklisting charges
A worker on the Crossrail project who believes he was blacklisted because of his union and safety activities has won the right to challenge his sacking. London Central Employment Tribunal ruled last week that both Crossrail and contractor Bam Ferrovial Kier (BFK) should appear in court to answer the allegations that Unite safety rep Frank Morris was unfairly dismissed in September 2012 from Europe''s biggest construction project.
Blacklist blog • Unite news release • Risks 596 • 9 March 2013
Britain: Blacklisted worker wins human rights argument
A blacklisted worker who was denied justice because he was an agency worker has been told his human rights may have been violated and has been granted leave to appeal. An Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) this week decided that construction giant Carillion must face human rights claims over its role in the construction industry blacklisting scandal.
Blacklist blog • GMB news release • Risks 595 • 2 March 2013
Britain: Electricians hit hardest by site blacklist
Skilled electricians were the group worst affected by the blacklisting scandal, a union analysis has found. GMB researchers reviewed the occupations of workers on an illegal blacklist held by The Consulting Association and found electricians were twice as likely to be blacklisted as labourers, the second largest group targeted.
GMB news release • The Mirror • Risks 595 • 2 March 2013
Britain: Probe into police complicity in blacklisting
Construction union UCATT has welcomed news that the Metropolitan Police is to conduct a major investigation into allegations that the police colluded in the blacklisting of construction workers. The new inquiry follows a review of a complaint made last November on behalf of the Blacklist Support Group that officers has supplied information to those compiling blacklists.
UCATT news release • Channel 4 News • Morning Star • Risks 595 • 2 March 2013
Britain: Blacklist Support Group AGM, 23 March 2013
The Blacklist Support Group''s annual general meeting, which will take place in London on Saturday, 23 March, will be the “largest meeting of blacklisted workers ever assembled in one place.” The group says attendees will “discuss the ongoing campaign against the illegal construction industry blacklist in the courts, in parliament, with the unions and on sites.” Speakers include general secretaries Len McCluskey of Unite, Paul Kenny of GMB and Steve Murphy of UCATT. Also addressing the event will be labour rights expert Professor Keith Ewing and leading employment rights lawyer John Hendy QC.
Blacklist Support Group AGM, 10:30am-4:00pm, Saturday, 23 March 2013, Faraday House, 48-51 Old Gloucester Street, London, WCIN 3AE. All welcome • Risks 594 • 23 February 2013
Britain: Action call on ‘tough'' blacklisting companies
There should be to a further investigation of the ‘tough'' blacklisting activities of Balfour Beatty and Skanska, the union UCATT has said. The union call came after Mary Kerr, the bookkeeper with the covert blacklisting organisation The Consulting Association (TCA), described Balfour Beatty and Skanska as “very tough” when it came to blacklisting as they would not employ anyone on the list, while other companies could take a more lenient attitude.
UCATT news release. BBC News Online. The Report, BBC Radio 4, 14 February 2013 • Risks 594 • 23 February 2013
USA: Miner who raised safety concerns gets sued
A Kentucky miner who raised safety concerns and got fired from his welding job is now being sued by his former employer and blacklisted by other mines. Reuben Shemwell is now wrapped in a messy legal battle with his former employer, an affiliate of Armstrong Coal, which shut down the mine when the safety regulator stepped in.
Lex18.com • Huffington Post • The Pump Handle • Risks 592 • 9 February 2012
Britain: Construction workers to challenge police over blacklist
Solicitors acting for thousands of construction workers are appealing a decision by the Metropolitan police not to investigate claims that officers supplied information to an illegal blacklist of construction workers.
Building • The Guardian • Risks 592 • 9 February 2012
Britain: GMB calls on councils to boycott blacklisters
The union GMB is calling on local councils not to award any new public work to the companies that operated the blacklist until they compensate those they victimised. The union has published a map setting out where the 3,213 workers on the blacklist either lived or worked.
GMB news release and related article and map • East London Advertiser • Building • Risks 591 • 2 February 2013
Britain: GMB welcomes ICO change of heart
A decision by the Information Commissioner''s Office (ICO) to cooperate with union solicitors in a blacklisting legal case has been welcomed by GMB. The union was commenting after ICO indicated it would work with GMB solicitors Leigh Day, which is preparing a compensation case for over the 200 GMB members on the construction industry blacklist.
GMB news release • Morning Star • BBC News Online • Daily Record • The Times • The Herald • Lancashire Evening Post • Risks 590 • 26 January 2013
Britain: Pressure increases for blacklisting action
Unions have urged the government to initiate a major inquiry into blacklisting, on a par with the Leveson probe into phone hacking. The calls came ahead of a 23 January debate in parliament, where shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna said: “I believe that what happened in the past needs to be investigated”.
Unite news release • UCATT news release • . Opposition day debate on Blacklisting, House of Commons, 23 January 2013 and Parliament News • Blacklist blog • Building magazine • Financial Times • The Guardian • The Scotsman • The Herald • BBC News Online • ITV News • Building • Risks 590 • 26 January 2013
USA: Firm railroaded in to anti-victimisation deal
A major US rail firm that retaliated against workers who reported occupational injuries has been forced to sign a good behaviour deal with OSHA, the nation''s official health and safety enforcer. The accord signed with BNSF Railway Co details the voluntary revision of several BNSF personnel policies and requires to compensate 36 workers and remove injury report related probation extensions from 136 others.
OSHA news release and Whistleblower Protection Program • OSHA-BNSF Accord • Risks 589 • 19 January 2013
Britain: Sir Robert McAlpine faces High Court on blacklist
Construction firm Sir Robert McAlpine played a central role in a “conspiracy to blacklist” 3,300 people from working on Britain's major building projects, according to a multimillion-pound high court claim against the firm.
The Guardian • Building magazine • Risks 589 • 19 January 2013
Britain: Call for blacklisters to be barred from contracts
Firms involved in blacklisting workers should be banned from receiving contracts involving taxpayers'' cash, members of the Scottish parliament and trade unions have urged. They said they will press for a change the law to prevent firms that use blacklists from bidding for Scottish government contracts, or those that involve public money.
The Scotsman • Morning Star • Risks 588 • 12 January 2013
Britain: Injury highlights Crossrail safety concerns
Unite has demanded an investigation into an incident on the Crossrail project that left an electrician in hospital with 70 per cent burns. The man, who has not been named but who was working for subcontractor Barhale, was seriously injured on 12 December 2012 when he struck a below ground electrical cable on a Holborn site in central London.
Unite news release • YouTube video of Crossrail protest • Union News • Construction Enquirer • Risks 587 • 22 December 2012
Britain: Crossrail in Unite''s crosshairs
Site union Unite has called for answers after contractors on the £15bn Crossrail network across the south-east of England were linked to blacklisting. The union said it has “continuing and serious concerns” about how workers are treated by contractors working on the scheme, Europe''s largest construction project.
Unite news release • Construction Enquirer • ITV News • Risks 586 • 15 December 2012
Britain: Crossrail blacklist allegations
The Observer newspaper has claimed that a senior manager on the Crossrail project used a secret list of trade union members provided by a blacklisting company at his previous job. According to evidence given at an employment tribunal, Ron Barron, the project's industrial relations manager, cross-checked job applicants against a secret list of workers to be barred from the industry, a list that he helped to compile.
The Observer. Daily Mirror • Risks 585 • 8 December 2012
Britain: Blacklisting scandal greater that phone-hacking row
As the blacklisting scandal continues to unfold, a leading journalist, Seamus Milne, has said that the impact on the victims has been just as great as the phone-hacking scandal, but there has been no enquiry. Mr Milne says that in both scandals, the evidence of illegality, surveillance and conspiracy is incontrovertible.
Guardian • Risks 585 • 8 December 2012
Britain: ODA pressed on Olympics blacklisting action
Construction union UCATT has told the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) it will not be allowed to sweep blacklisting at the London Olympics construction project under the carpet. UCATT made the demand after ODA chief executive Dennis Hone told the London Assembly that there was no evidence that blacklisting occurred on the Olympics and that Olympic contractors had given assurances that they were not involved in blacklisting.
UCATT news release • Morning Star • Risks 582 • 17 November 2012
USA: Mine watchdog protects more whistleblowers
The US mine safety watchdog has demanded a record number of fired miners be reinstated after they were dismissed for standing up for safety. The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) reports it filed more than 39 requests during fiscal year 2012 for temporary reinstatements on behalf of miners.
MSHA news release • State Journal • Risks 581 • 10 November 2012
Britain: Union says McAlpine had an Olympic blacklist
Construction union UCATT has accused construction giant Sir Robert McAlpine of using blacklisting checks to vet workers building the 2012 Olympic stadium. Union leaders gave evidence last week to the Scottish Affairs Select Committee probe into the industry''s blacklist run by the now defunct The Consulting Association
UCATT news release • Construction Enquirer • Risks 581 • 10 November 2012
Britain: Union steps up blacklisting campaign
Construction union UCATT has launched a postcard campaign in their fight for justice for blacklisted workers. The postcards are to be sent to MPs and request that MPs sign an Early Day Motion 609 on Blacklisted Workers, seeks support for a public inquiry into the blacklisting scandal and for calls for blacklisting to become a criminal offence.
UCATT news release • Risks 580 • 3 November 2012
Britain: Blacklisting goes far beyond construction
Rail union RMT have demanded full disclosure of a secret 'RMT File' held by blacklisting organisation The Consulting Association as evidence mounts of police and security services involvement in the targeting of union activists in the construction and railway industries.
RMT news release • Risks 580 • 3 November 2012
Guatemala: Aluminium workers face abuse
When Emeterio Nach suffered a shoulder injury at his job, he asked his supervisor at the Ternium aluminium processing plant in Villa Nueva, Guatemala, for time off to see his doctor. In an interview with the US union backed Solidarity Center, he says the supervisor continued to refuse, finally telling Nach he would be fired if he kept asking - and if he was sick, he'd be fired anyway because the factory needed healthy workers.
AFL-CIO Now blog • Solidarity Center interview • SITRATERNIUM facebook page – tell the union you ‘like'' it.
Take action now: Write to Paolo Rocca, chair of Ternium SA • Risks 579 • 27 October 2012
Britain: Shock as true extent of blacklist is revealed
Unions are demanding answers after it was revealed a secret industry blacklist of union reps and safety activists could be 20 times bigger than previously thought, targeting tens of thousands of workers. The union call came after a 17 October session of the House of Commons'' Scottish Affairs Select Committee heard that in 2009 when the Information Commissioner''s Office (ICO) raided covert, construction industry-backed blacklisting organisation The Consulting Association it only removed 5 per cent of the organisation''s files, a blacklist of 3,213 workers.
UCATT news release • The Mirror • Morning Star • Financial Times • Risks 579 • 27 October 2012
Britain: Labour demands answers from ICO
Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna has written to the Information Commissioner''s Office (ICO), demanding to know why it did not seek a wider search warrant for its blacklisting raids, and whether it is investigating the existence of other lists targeting union and safety activists. The letter from the Labour MP calls the saga a “tragedy” and adds it was a matter of “great concern” that the vast majority of documents at the offices of The Consulting Association raided in 2009 were left untouched.
Construction News • Risks 579 • 27 October 2012
Britain: Blacklisters to go before a judge
Some of the UK''s biggest construction firms are being dragged into court to answer allegations they blacklisted trade union safety activists. Ahead of the union-initiated legal action, Carillion chief executive Richard Howson apologised for his firm''s part in the scandal.
GMB news release • Carillion apology and blacklisting response webpages • The Scotsman • Financial Times • Risks 579 • 27 October 2012
Britain: RMT strike against Mitie victimisation
Rail union RMT has announced strike action and action short of a strike by rail members working on the Mitie contract on First Great Western over the “blatant victimisation” of union representative Sharon Petrie, who had raised safety and other concerns.
RMT news release • Risks 576 • 6 October 2012
Britain: Bus drivers victimised for wearing union logo
Two bus drivers threatened with the sack for being union reps have won £16,000 in compensation from transport giant Arriva. The RMT pair was awarded the cash after an employment tribunal ruled the bus and train company unlawfully discriminated against them for wearing “unauthorised” high visibility safety vests displaying the union logo.
Daily Mirror • Risks 576 • 6 October 2012
Britain: Blacklisting campaigners call on Labour to act
Unions have taken their campaign for better protection against blacklisting to this week''s Labour Party conference in Manchester. Speaking in a 1 October debate on employment rights, UCATT delegate Terry Renshaw called for a public inquiry into the role of the state in blacklisting construction workers and said the next Labour government should outlaw the “nasty, deceitful, vindictive activity” which targeted union reps for their safety and other workplace activities, while outside the event, GMB members - one dressed as Death - protested against Carillion.
UCATT news release • Morning Star • Daily Mirror • Evening Standard • Union News • Risks 576 • 6 October 2012
Britain: RMT to ballot for action over driverless Tube
Tube union RMT has confirmed it is to ballot for strike action and action short of a strike in a dispute over plans to “rip up the safety rule book” and begin the testing of driverless trains on London Underground. Initially, RMT will be balloting all members who are test train drivers but the union has also made it clear that it will be looking at other grades that could be called upon to test-drive units with a view to balloting those staff as well. RMT news release • London24 • Risks 575 • 29 September 2012
Britain: Drivers have no truck with driverless trains
Train drivers'' union ASLEF has told London Underground its members will play no part in development tests relating to driverless trains. A letter from general secretary Mick Whelan has informed the company that ASLEF members who are Test Train Operators and Duty Team Leaders will not work on any project to test driverless trains from 29 September.
ASLEF news release • Risks 575 • 29 September 2012
Britain: Unite urges Crossrail to enter into victimisation talks
Unite is calling for urgent talks with Crossrail to thrash out cases of trade union victimisation, including the firing of union reps who raised safety concerns. The union has been seeking a project agreement for over a year with Crossrail which it says could benefit the thousands of workers employed on the largest construction project in Europe.
Unite news release • Risks 575 • 29 September 2012
Britain: Union alleges contractor was dumped over safety
A union has warned that targeting unions reps for raising safety concerns could lead to tragedy on a London site. The comments from Unite came as union members protested outside a west London Crossrail site at the dismissal of 28 workers, allegedly for raising health and safety concerns.
Morning Star • Construction Enquirer • Risks 574 • 22 September 2012
Britain: Unions condemn unfair dismissal changes
Government plans to reduce payouts for unfair dismissals will do nothing to boost economic growth and make it easier for bad employers to mistreat their staff, unions have warned.
TUC news release • BIS news release • STUC news release • Unite news release • GMB news release • BECTU news release • CWU news release • Morning Star • The Guardian • Risks 574 • 22 September 2012
Britain: Blacklisters should be jailed, say unions
Blacklisting of workers for their union and safety activities should be made an imprisonable offence, delegates to the TUC''s annual congress has heard.
UCATT news release • Unite news release • Risks 573 • 15 September 201
Britain: Carillion was a blacklister, GMB insists
GMB has dismissed complaints from construction giant Carillion that the union is “presenting a grossly distorted and misleading portrait of Carillion insofar as blacklisting is concerned.” Carillion, which said the union''s claims were “a disgrace”, was responding after the union gave evidence to the Scottish Affairs Committee and protested outside Swansea Crown Court, where the firm is facing a prosecution following the death of a construction worker.
GMB news release • Risks 573 • 15 September 2012
Britain: Just 1-in-20 know they were blacklisted
Only 194 of the 3,213 workers on a construction-industry run blacklist exposed by the Information Commissioner''s Office (ICO) in 2009 know they were targeted three years on, the union GMB has said. The situation is an “indictment” of the ICO, the union said, describing the privacy watchdog''s excuses for not contacting blacklisted workers as “so weak as to be a joke.”
GMB news release • Risks 572 • 8 September 2012
Britain: Grim reaper visits Carillion death hearing
Workers employed by Carillion who were blacklisted after raising safety concerns have protested outside a court in Swansea where the firm is being prosecuted after a site death. Protesters, one dressed as the grim reaper, carried placards bearing the words ‘Carillion blacklisted health and safety representatives says GMB'' and ‘Carillion corporate bullying risks death and injuries on sites.''
GMB news release • Risks 572 • 8 September 2012
Britain: Bar blacklisters from official contracts – MP
Labour MP Jim Sheridan has called for construction firms guilty of blacklisting trade unionists to be barred from publicly funded projects. The MP, speaking at a 27 August Blacklist Support Group protest outside the Glasgow HQ of construction giant Balfour Beatty, said: “Any contracts from British taxpayers' money - don't give them to criminals like Balfour Beatty who are blacklisting people.”
Jim Sheridan MP news release • Morning Star • Blacklist blog • Risks 571 • 1 September 2012
Britain: Balfour Beatty boss accused of perjury
A blacklisted construction worker has accused a top executive of construction giant Balfour Beatty of perjury. Colin Trousdale, a blacklisted electrician and UNITE member from Manchester alleged the company''s human resources director, Gerry Harvey, had sent a letter to the court asserting “there is no blacklist, we are not blacklisting you, you are paranoid” – but his blacklisting file contained company documentation proving this wasn''t true.
Blacklist blog • Risks 571 • 1 September 2012
Britain: Union threatens legal action over blacklisting
The GMB trade union has called on the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) to take proactive action to inform 2,863 builders that they are on a 'blacklist' that the ICO has been in possession of since 2009. GMB also wants to see the 44 blacklisting companies prosecuted and has threatened to take legal action if this does not happen. The move follows a long campaign for action that followed the revelation that there was a secret database of 3,500 construction workers which was used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists.
GMB news release • Risks 570 • 25 August 2012
Britain: Blacklist firm has a director on HSE''s board
A blacklisted construction worker has expressed concern at the appointment to the Health and Safety Executive''s board of a top director with construction giant Laing O''Rourke, one of the companies named in a major UK safety blacklisting scandal.
Howard Shiplee, who joined Laing O''Rourke as an executive director in October 2011, took his place on the HSE board on 13 August 2012.
Blacklist blog and list of firms linked to The Consulting Association • DWP news release • Risks 569 • 18 August 2012
Britain: Liberty backs union blacklisting inquiry calls
The surveillance and blacklisting of thousands of workers, many targeted for their union safety activities, should be investigated immediately by the privacy watchdog, human rights watchdog Liberty has said. Liberty has written to the Information Commissioner, Sir Christopher Graham, accusing him of inaction over a privacy scandal that it compares to phone hacking.
The Independent • People Management • Belfast Telegraph • Risks 568 • 11 August 2012
Britain: Blacklisted workers launch £600m court action
Blacklisted workers in the UK have launched a High Court claim against construction giant Sir Robert McAlpine which could potentially be worth £600 million. Law firm Guney, Clark & Ryan served a claim on behalf of 86 claimants for ‘Tort of unlawful conspiracy'' at the High Court.
Blacklist blog • The Observer and related comment piece • Morning Star • Irish Times • Construction Enquirer • Risks 567 • 4 August 2012
Britain: College safety rep targeted for redundancy
Further education union UCU is calling for support after effective trade union safety rep Mike Whatmore was targeted for redundancy. The union branch commented: “Mike is an effective UCU rep, who robustly defends members and has been proactive in highlighting health and safety issues at the college,” adding: “The branch believes that this is the reason he is being faced with the sack at such short notice.”
Newcastle College UCU branch news release and UCU petition to save Mike Whatmore • Email a message of support on send your message on Twitter @NclCollUCU using the hashtag #SaveMike • Risks 566 • 28 July 2012
Britain: Victimised over safety? That will be £1,200 please
Workers victimised for raising safety concerns will soon have to pay £1,200 if they want to seek justice at an employment tribunal. Unions have branded the move, announced last week by the government, ‘a disgrace''.
TUC news release • UNISON news release • Ministry of Justice news release • Government response to the consultation Introducing fees in employment tribunals and Employment Appeal Tribunal, 13 July 2012 • The Guardian • Morning Star • Risks 565 • 21 July 2012
Britain: Union blacklisting campaign gathers pace
A union campaign for a comprehensive law to protect union safety activists from blacklisting has led to the issue being progressed at the highest levels in Europe. Labour MEP Glenis Willmott gave a cautious welcome to a confirmation from the European Commission that, as part of its upcoming review of health and safety legislation, it will ensure that EU law is being followed and that workers'' health and safety reps are not being put at a disadvantage by employers.
Blacklist blog • Glenis Willmott MEP news release • Risks 565 • 21 July 2012
Britain: Sacked for requesting a waterproof coat
A Barnet parking attendant required to brave the recent heavy rains was sacked by contractor NSL when he asked for a waterproof jacket. The union GMB is calling for the reinstatement of Babatunde Ojikutu, a GMB member and one of 60 Barnet council employees who transferred to NSL along with the parking enforcement contract on 1 May this year.
GMB news release • Risks 561 • 23 June 2012
USA: Union workers keep workplaces ethical
Workers protected by a union contract create more ethical workplaces, a US study suggests. A report by the Ethics Resource Center (ERC), ‘Inside the mind of a whistleblower,'' found union employees, who are often provided explicit contractual protections, had much higher rates of reporting specific misconduct than non-union employees.
AFL-CIO Now blog • Inside the mind of a whistleblower, Ethics Resource Center, 2012. Government Accountability Project commentary • Risks 560 • 16 June 2012
Britain: Screw turns on blacklisting employers
Firms who were involved in a massive covert blacklisting scheme targeting union and safety activists are facing a three-pronged attack and public exposure. A report from the union GMB released this week exposes widespread use of the blacklist by construction giant Carillion.
GMB news release and full report, Blacklisting - illegal corporate bullying endemic, systemic and deep-rooted in Carillion and other companies [pdf] • Blacklist blog • Public Sector Construction • The Scotsman • Express and Star • Building • Risks 560 • 16 June 2012
Britain: MPs hear blacklisters named and shamed
The House of Commons Scottish Affairs Select Committee has heard a marathon two hour evidence session from Blacklist Support Group secretary Dave Smith as part of its ongoing investigation into blacklisting in employment. As part of his 12 June evidence, the former UCATT safety rep who an Employment Tribunal this year accepted was blacklisted for his union safety activities, revealed a number of elected politicians had files kept of them by covert blacklisting company The Consulting Association.
Blacklist blog • Parliament TV coverage of testimony by the Blacklist Support Group''s Dave Smith to the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee enquiry into blacklisting in employment • ITV News • Risks 560 • 16 June 2012
Britain: Suspended safety rep back at work
Unite safety rep Jason Poulter, who was suspended after trying to stop a workmate stopping a mechanical saw with his hand, has been reinstated after a show of support from union members. More than 600 workers walked off the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station in a show of support for the suspended safety rep.
Morning Star • Risks 559 • 9 June 2012
Britain: Whistleblowing law undermined by the ‘back door''
The government is bringing in an amendment which will undermine the law on whistleblowing “by the back door”, an employment law expert has warned – and the protection of safety reps and whistleblowers is in the firing line. David Lewis, professor of employment law at Middlesex University and convenor of the International Whistleblowing Research Network, says the section 12 one-line amendment introduced in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill would mean disclosures made by whistleblowers would have to be “in the public interest” in order to protect the individual if they are made redundant or suffer detriment as a result of doing so.
Public Concern at Work news release and briefing • Personnel Today • The Bureau Investigates. Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill [pdf] • Risks 559 • 9 June 2012
Britain: Worker fired after challenging unsafe work
A woman who was fired after challenging a management move she felt would leave her at risk of violence has won an unfair dismissal claim. GMB member Karen Seacombe, 48, lost her job as a social club steward after a dispute with her employer over attending burglar alarm call-outs at night on her own.
GMB news release • Risks 558 • 2 June 2012
Australia: Toyota faces legal action safety rep sackings
Toyota in Australia targeted safety reps and shop stewards for redundancy because of their union activity, industrial union AMWU has charged. AMWU''s David Smith said the treatment of unionised workers and health and safety representatives was disgusting and could have wider ramifications.
AMWU news release • Maurice Blackburn Lawyers news release • Google News • Herald Sun • Risks 553 • 28 April 2012
Britain: Full judgment exposes blacklisting scandal
A tribunal judge has issued a damning verdict on construction giant Carillion's use of blacklisting - and the weak laws which denied its victims justice. The judgment by Judge Snelson, which had been reserved from January, said: “It seems to us that he has suffered a genuine injustice and we greatly regret that the law provides him with no remedy.”
Blacklist blog • Morning Star • Risks 552 • 21 April 2012
USA: Republicans seek to silence whistleblowers
Republican lawmakers have indicated it is more important to let employers police themselves on workplace safety than it is to give workers protection when they blow the whistle on unsafe practices. In comments to Daily Labor Report last week, Republican Representative John Kline revealed Republicans are particularly opposed to the additional $4.9 million (£3.1m) for worker whistleblower protection and the $3.2 million (£2m) cut in the voluntary employer compliance program that was the hallmark of the Bush administration.
AFL-CIO Now blog • AFL-CIO Executive Council statement • Risks 548 • 24 March 2012
Britain: Cameron ignores call for a blacklisting public inquiry
The prime minister has said the police should investigate police complicity in the blacklisting of trade union and safety activists. The response came in parliament this week after two Labour MPs had called separately for a public inquiry into revelations from the Information Commissioner''s Office that information held by covert blacklisting outfit The Consulting Association could only have been provided by the police or security services.
Blacklist blog • Hansard, 15 March 2012 and 21 March 2012 • Construction Enquirer • 24 March 2012
Britain: Scrapping unfair dismissal ‘will horrify employees''
Government plans to scrap protection from unfair dismissal are a charter for nasty bosses, the TUC has indicated. TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said “while this proposal does nothing for growth, it does show the kind of economy those close to the prime minister want to create - one in which nasty bosses are given full license to undermine those trying to maintain decent standards.”
BIS news release and call for evidence • TUC news release • CIPD news release • BBC News Online • Risks 548 • 24 March 2012
Britain: Security services linked to blacklist of site reps
The police or security services supplied information to a blacklist funded by the country's major construction firms that has kept thousands of people out of work over the past three decades. It says the connection was made by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), which believes records that could only have come from the police or MI5 were included in a vast database of files held on 3,200 victims, most targeted for their trade union - and particularly safety - activities.
The Observer • Blacklist blog • Risks 546 • 10 March 2012
Britain: RMT demands publication of secret ‘RMT File''
Rail union RMT has demanded full disclosure of a secret ‘RMT File'' held by The Consulting Association. RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “The Information Commissioner''s Office knows that an ‘RMT File'' exists in The Consulting Association records, as it is cross referenced in information from the construction industry files that we have in our possession.”
RMT news release • The Observer • Risks 546 • 10 March 2012
Britain: Blacklisting firm held file on oil industry academic
A secret blacklisting file opened on an academic who researched health and safety following the Piper Alpha oil rig disaster claims the offshore oil industry threatened to cut funding to his university if he “continued to cause problems”. Professor Charles Woolfson had published extensively on safety regimes in the North Sea while he was industrial relations professor at the University of Glasgow and wrote a well-regarded book, Paying The Piper.
Taking out the Trash blog • Risks 542 • 11 February 2012
Britain: Law fails blacklisted agency worker
The construction giant Carillion has admitted a construction worker was blacklisted because of his trade union activities and efforts to improve site safety, but has escaped responsibility because he was an agency worker. The revelation came during an employment tribunal brought against the firm by engineer and former UCATT safety rep Dave Smith.
Blacklist blog • Daily Mirror • Construction Enquirer • Morning Star • Socialist Worker • Risks 540 • 28 January 2011
Britain: LibDems oppose safety rep protection
LibDems in the European Parliament have voted with centre right parties to ensure the failure of a proposal to protect workplace safety reps from blacklisting and victimisation.
The vote in Strasbourg followed a debate on a mid-term review of the European Union''s health and safety strategy.
Blacklist Support Group report • Risks 530 • 5 November 2011
Thailand: Union leaders fired for safety stand
Thailand''s state railway has dismissed seven union leaders who demanded urgent safety improvements. It follows an earlier ruling by the Thai Labour Court that the sackings could proceed, a decision condemned by union bodies worldwide.
Bangkok Post • Risks 525 • 1 October 2011
Cambodia: Union members ‘dismissed'' over safety fears
A garment factory hit by two mass fainting incidents in August has been accused of trying to get rid of workers who subsequently joined the Free Trade Union to push for better working conditions. FTU president Chea Mony has written to the Ministry of Labour alleging that 20 employees who had joined the union at the M&V factory in Kampong Chhnang province had been told their contracts were expiring at the end of September. Phnom Penh Post and related story • Risks 525 • 1 October 2011
Europe: MEPs back safer oil rigs with safety reps
Euro-MPs have called for tougher oil rig safety standards, support for elected offshore safety reps and job protection for safety whistleblowers. The overwhelming 602-64 vote of the European Parliament on 13 September also backed a call “on the industry to follow best practice on safety representatives,” adding “employees should be able to elect a safety representative who is involved in safety issues at all levels of the operational and decision-making process.”
European Parliament news release • Peter Skinner MEP news release • The Independent • Risks 523 • 17 September 2011
Britain: Judge backs worker against ‘blacklisting'' Carillion
Former site worker Dave Smith has won the latest stage of his legal battle against construction multinational Carillion. The case could set an important precedent as Mr Smith does not accuse the company of victimising him directly, but of enabling his victimisation by providing critical information to a covert blacklisting organisation.
Blacklist blog • Daily Mirror • Risks 521 • 3 September 2011
USA: Hyatt hotel tries to fry workers
Late in July, when hotel workers at the Park Hyatt Chicago hotel went on strike after nearly two years of fruitless negotiations, they set up a picket line at the front entrance. That''s when management turned the heat on, literally, by firing up 10 heat lamps in the awning above the entrance - on a day when the National Weather Service had issued an excessive heat warning for temperatures above 100 degrees.
Labor Notes. In These Times • AFL-CIO Now blog • CBS Chicago • Risks 517 • 6 August 2011
USA: OSHA plans to protect whistleblowers
Workplace safety whistleblowers will have greater protection from victimisation, the US government safety watchdog OSHA has said. It says new measures will improve investigator training and avoid long delays in completing investigations.
OSHA news release and whistleblower factsheet • FairWarning • Risks 517 • 6 August 2011
Thailand: ‘Disbelief'' at labour court safety ruling
Unions worldwide have responded with ‘shock and disbelief'' to a Thai Labour Court decision to allow the dismissal of seven leaders of the SRUT railway workers'' trade union for their part in safety-related industrial action two years ago. RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “The decision of the Thai Labour Court is a politically motivated attack on a rail union that has done nothing other than fight for safety on their rail network.”
ITF news release and study of safety standards at SRT • ITUC news release • RMT news release • Risks 517 • 6 August 2011
Europe: Blacklisting campaign goes Europe-wide
UK anti-blacklisting campaigners believe a Europe-wide law banning the practice could have moved a step closer, after a top level meeting with European officials and politicians. A delegation of blacklisted trade unionists and safety representatives from the Blacklist Support Group held private talks in Brussels last week with EU commissioner for employment, social affairs and inclusion László Andor.
BSG news release • Blacklist blog • Morning Star • Risks 513 • 9 July 2011
Britain: Victimisation is money down the tube
London Underground (LUL) has thrown at least £250,000 down the Tube trying to defend its ‘indefensible'' victimisation of train operator Arwyn Thomas, the union RMT has estimated. Six-figure legal fees, management time spent preparing for and attending six days of tribunals, including senior managers on £600-plus a day, on top of Arwyn''s salary – paid on the orders of an interim hearing in January – add up at least to the cost of employing 20 modern apprentices for a year, the union says.
RMT news release • Risks 515 • 11 June 2011
Britain: Company's safety award is a 'joke'
Trade unionists have branded as ‘a joke'' the award of a prestigious health and safety prize to construction firm Balfour Beatty. The company received the Sir George Earle Trophy from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) despite being notorious for sacking and blacklisting health and safety reps.
RoSPA news release and Balfour Beatty award citation • Blacklist blog • Morning Star • Risks 507 • 28 May 2011
Britain: Tube movement as safety rep is reinstated
Tube union RMT has confirmed strike action by London Underground drivers due to commence next week has been suspended. The move follows an agreement with London Underground to re-employ unfairly sacked driver and RMT safety rep Eamonn Lynch, and agreement to hold further discussion aimed at resolving the unfair dismissal of sacked driver Arwyn Thomas in advance of his Employment Tribunal.
RMT news release and earlier release on Eamonn Lynch''s employment tribunal victory • BBC News Online • Risks 505 • 14 May 2011
Britain: Tube drivers vote to protect union reps
Members of the Tube union RMT have voted by almost two-to-one for strike action in defence of two union reps. The union says safety rep Eamon Lynch and fellow union rep Arwyn Thomas were targeted for their trade union activities, after challenging cuts that could turn the underground system into a “death trap.”
RMT news release • Risks 503 • 30 April 2011
Britain: Olympic site blockaded in blacklist protest
Union protesters blocked the entrance to London''s Olympic site last week in support of victimised construction worker Frank Morris. The Enfield-based electrician was shifted from his job at the prestigious media centre at the Olympic site after blowing the whistle on the use of an illegal blacklist on the construction project.
Blacklist blog • Morning Star • Risks 502 • 16 April 2011
Britain: Strike ballot on safety rep victimisation
Tube union RMT has served notice on London Underground (LU) it intends to ballot for strike action in an escalation of on-going disputes over the victimisation of union activists. One of the affected members, Tube driver Eamon Lynch, is the RMT Bakerloo Line drivers'' health and safety rep.
RMT news release • Risks 501 • 9 April 2011
Britain: Anti-blacklist demo targets Olympic site
Anti-blacklist protesters caused chaos outside London''s Olympic Park this week when they stopped deliveries getting onto the site for more than an hour. Traffic ground to a halt in Pudding Mill Lane on 1 March as demonstrators from unions and the Blacklist Support Group, backing fired electrician Frank Morris, crossed continually a zebra crossing near the site gates.
Blacklist blog • Construction Enquirer • Morning Star • Risks 496 • 5 March 2011
Australia: Court backs victimised safety rep
Australian shipping giant Patrick Stevedoring has been fined Aus$180,000 (£112,600) after it was found guilty of discriminating against a union safety rep who raised safety concerns. The worker, an experienced stevedore and an elected health and safety representative with the docks union MUA, raised concerns about the safety of a new basket-lifting technique on three occasions in 2007 and was subsequently threatened by a manager, then disciplined.
Herald Sun • ACTU news release • MUA news release • Transport and Logistics News • Risks 491 • 29 January 2011
Britain: RMT defends victimised safety rep
The sacking of an RMT safety rep has exposed London Underground''s (LU) “total contempt” for decent employment practice, his union has said. Train operator Eamon Lynch, who was the RMT Bakerloo Line drivers'' health and safety rep and who had a 15-year unblemished service record, was “very clearly victimised for his role as an RMT activist despite management''s bogus claims that they sacked him following an ‘operational incident'',” said the union.
RMT news release • Risks 487 • 18 December 2010
Britain: How to complain
With visits by inspectors few and far between, the only way that dangerous situations can be dealt with before someone in injured or made ill is either if there is a good union presence or if the problem is reported to the enforcing authority. The HSE has just published guidance on how to complain about a problem in your workplace, but recommends that first of all you should raise it with the employer and union.
HSE guidance • Risks 484 • 27 November 2010
Britain: Construction firm guilty of blacklisting
A major construction contractor has been found guilty by an employment tribunal of blacklisting a prominent trade unionist. Ashford Employment Tribunal ruled that Unite member Phil Willis, 61, had been unlawfully refused employment by CB&I because he was a member of a trade union and a prominent activist.
Unite news release • Thompsons Solicitors news release • Morning Star • Construction Enquirer • Building • The Mirror • Blacklist blog • Risks 483 • 20 November 2010
Britain: London protest in support of Ark Tribe, 2 November
Construction safety campaigners are to mount a protest outside the Australian High Commission in London to protest at the victimisation of a union rep who is being prosecuted after making a stand on site safety. The 2 November event is in support of
Ark Tribe, a safety rep with the Australian construction union CFMEU.
‘Don't Jail Ark!'' campaign and “tell your mates” tool from Rights at Work. London protest in support of Ark Tribe, 4.15pm prompt, 2 November, Australian High Commission, The Strand, London • Risks 480 • 30 October 2010
USA: Whistleblowers need a new protector
An official US government report critical of the lack of protection provided to workplace safety whistleblowers has led to calls for a new agency to protect workers. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) report concluded the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had neglected its whistleblower protection role.
PEER news release • GAO report [pdf] • OSHA statement on the GAO report • ProPublica blog • Risks 475 • 25 September 2010
Britain: UCATT steps up blacklisting campaign
Construction union UCATT has stepped up its campaign to end blacklisting. The union''s motion at this week''s TUC Congress in Manchester, calling for the new regulations to ensure that blacklisting is finally made illegal once and for all, was unanimously carried.
UCATT news release • Risks 474 • 18 September 2010
Britain: Reinstatement demand for sacked whistleblowers
Construction union UCATT is pursuing legal action in support of members who were dismissed after raising serious safety concerns. The union says problems at the Velindre Electricity sub-station construction site in Swansea began in February 2010, when the workers were suspended by J2M - a consortium of Morrison Utility Services, Jacobs Engineering and Mitsubishi Electric.
UCATT news release • Risks 473 • 11 September 2010
Britain: Blacklisting case heads to full tribunal
An electrician blacklisted from the construction industry has won the right to take his case to a full tribunal. Steve Kelly, one of over 3,000 workers whose data was found on an illegal blacklist run by disgraced firm The Consulting Association, believes he was targeted because of his trade union health and safety activity.
Morning Star • Blacklist blog • Risks 469 • 14 August 2010
Britain: Virgin shamed by assault victim firing
Rail union RMT could ballot staff for industrial action following the dismissal of a member who took a period of absence after an “horrific” on-train assault. RMT officials are preparing the ground for an “urgent ballot” of all on-train catering and train manager members [guards] at Liverpool Lime Street following the dismissal of Jackie Catterson.
RMT news release • Risks 468 • 7 August 2010
Britain: Blacklist bosses to be named and shamed
Construction bosses who personally sanctioned the use of blacklists in the industry are set to be named and shamed. A tribunal ruling means the Information Commissioner''s Office (ICO) must now reveal full details relating to a number of test cases – including invoices, correspondence and documentation detailing the business and organisational relationships between The Consulting Association and construction firms must be released under the terms of the ruling.
Construction Enquirer • Blacklist blog • Risks 458 • 29 May 2010
Britain: UCATT calls for more site protection
Construction union UCATT has vowed to keep the pressure on government over blacklisting and bogus self-employment.
Morning Star • Risks 457 • 22 May 2010
Britain: Site firms scoop blacklisting awards
Campaigners from the Blacklist Support Group provided some extra entertainment at the swish National Building Awards 2010 dinner at London''s Grosvenor House Hotel. The campaign presented its own alternative Blacklister of the Year Awards as the construction industry revellers assembled for the 22 April black tie event.
Blacklist blog • Risks 454 • 1 May 2010
Britain: Whistleblowing ETs could attract regulators
Employers that choose to dismiss or pay off workplace whistleblowers could face further investigation from 6 April, when the current bar on employment tribunals (ETs) revealing any details of whistleblowing allegations outside of the tribunal process is lifted. Under the new system, tribunals will be able to refer claims to the relevant regulatory authority, such as the Serious Fraud Office or Health and Safety Executive, for further investigation.
Personnel Today • Blacklist blog • Risks 450 • 3 April 2010
Britain: Work safety is a top whistleblower concern
The number of employees claiming to have been sacked, mistreated or bullied for exposing corrupt practices at work has increased tenfold over the last decade, according to official figures – and raising health and safety issues remains one of the top concerns. Blacklist blog • Risks 449 • 27 March 2010
Britain: New blacklisting regulations “too weak”
Construction union UCATT has said it is “bitterly disappointed” with the new anti-blacklisting regulations, repeating its warning the measures are so weak that they will not prevent blacklisting from occurring. Employment relations minister Lord Young announced the new measures, which came into effect on 2 March.
BIS news release • UCATT news release • Blacklist blog • Risks 446 • 6 March 2010
Thailand: Railway workers need support
An international campaign has been launched to support six Thai union officials who have been sacked after union members refused to drive trains they believed were unsafe. The action also happened after the Thai national rail company (SRT) had cut jobs.
Risks 443 • 13 February 2010
Britain: ‘Inadequate'' blacklisting law is delayed
Construction union UCATT says it has won a delay in the implementation of a blacklisting law, after raising concerns about the adequacy of the measures. The union says it wrote to and contacted directly members of the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments, expressing “grave concerns” about the proposed law.
UCATT news release • Blacklist blog • Risks 441 • 30 January 2010
USA: Black workers put in radiation risk jobs
The Studsvik Memphis Processing Facility in Tennessee, a US company that processes nuclear waste, has agreed to settle compensation claims with black employees who were assigned to jobs with higher radiation exposures but who then had their dose meters doctored to show lower exposure levels. “Some of the discrimination allege d in this case is unusually extreme because of the physical danger it created for African American employees,” said Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC) acting chair Stuart J Ishimaru.
EEOC news release • Memphis Commercial Appeal • UPI.com • Risks 440 • 23 January 2010
Britain: Blacklist law won''t end ‘despicable'' practice
Construction union UCATT has said it is ‘deeply disappointed'' with the 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 news release • Building • Blacklist blog • Risks 440 • 23 January 2010
Global: Construction blacklisting campaign goes global
Construction unions from around the world have backed proposals to stamp out blacklisting wherever it occurs. The decision was taken last week by the Building and Wood Workers International (BWI), which agreed to “monitor any developments on blacklisting discovered in BWI affiliate countries” and to “assist unions in taking action where there are suspicions of a blacklist or where blacklisting practices have been confirmed.”
UCATT news release • Blacklist blog • Risks 437 • 19 December 2009
Britain: Bishops should quit over victimised vicar
The resignation of two Church of England bishops has been called for by the union Unite. The union says they presided over ‘a culture of neglect and bullying'' in the Diocese of Worcester which drove a vicar from his parish and that this week saw him evicted from his home.
Unite news release • BBC News Online • Morning Star • Risks 437 • 19 December 2009
Britain: Blacklisting lawsuit could cost firms millions
Construction companies could be facing a bill of millions of pounds after a law firm revealed it was preparing a class action suit on behalf of blacklisted workers. A report in the trade journal Building says action will be brought against over 40 firms, including Balfour Beatty, Laing O''Rourke, Kier and Costain, who were found to be using an illegal blacklist uncovered by the Information Commissioner''s Office in February.
Building • Blacklist blog • Risks 436 • 12 December 2009
Britain: UCATT outrage at blacklisting law flaws
Construction union UCATT fears new regulations designed to outlaw blacklisting contain so many loopholes they will not deter the practice. The union says the government also failed to address “the routine blacklisting of safety representatives and campaigners, which was a notable feature of the Consulting Association''s blacklisting practices.”
UCATT news release. Blacklist blog • Risks 436 • 12 December 2009
Britain: Government announces blacklisting plans
It will be unlawful for trade union members to be denied employment through blacklists under plans outlined by employment relations minister Lord Young. He said the new law will ban employers from blacklisting workers for their trade union membership or activities.
BIS news release and full government response to the blacklisting consultation [pdf] • Blacklist blog • Risk 435 • 5 December 2009
Britain: Unions welcome ‘overdue'' rules
Unions have given a qualified welcome to new regulations intended to outlaw the blacklisting of trade unionists. The laws, which need parliamentary approval before taking effect, were announced on 2 December by employment relations minister Lord Young.
UCATT news release • Unite news release • Blacklist blog • Risk 435 • 5 December 2009
Britain: Skanska''s ruse to evade blacklist blame
Building firm Skanska, the construction giant that last year ran up the largest single bill for use of The Consulting Association''s blacklisting services, has resorted to a novel defence of the illegal practice. It claims it used the blacklist of construction workers to vet employees for a history of violence and drug or alcohol abuse – a claim dismissed out of hand by those who have obtained their files.
People Management • Blacklist blog • Risks 434 • 28 November 2009
Britain: Blacklisting is a human rights abuse
Nearly 10 months after it was confirmed by the Information Commissioner that blacklisting in the construction industry was rife, something common knowledge for decades among trade union reps in the sector, new laws outlawing the practice are in preparation and the victims featured on the blacklist have started their tribunal cases.
Guardian Work • FACK news release • Blacklist blog and related posting • Morning Star • Risks 434 • 28 November 2009
Britain: RMT members were on the blacklist too
Members of a third trade union have been revealed as being victims of the infamous construction industry blacklist. A report in Tribune magazine says of the 238 files released so far, most have been on members of UCATT and Unite – but now it turns out that some RMT members were blacklisted as well.
Tribune magazine • Blacklist blog • Risks 433 • 21 November 2009
Event: Manchester TUC ‘Fighting the Blacklist'' meeting, 7.00pm, Monday 23 November, Mechanic's Institute, 103 Princess Street, Manchester M1 6DD (entrance Major Street).
Britain: UCATT protests against the blacklist
Construction union UCATT will hold a demonstration in support of victims of blacklisting outside of Manchester Employment Tribunal on 24 November. A tribunal will be hearing the initial cases of blacklisted construction workers.
UCATT news release • Blacklist blog • Risks 433 • 21 November 2009
Protest: 9.30am, Tuesday 24 November, Manchester Employment Tribunal, Alexandra House, 14-22 Parsonage, Manchester M3 2JA.
Thailand: ITF steps up rail sackings protests
The sacking of Thai rail workers for raising safety concerns has spurred a global campaign for their reinstatement. Managers at the State Railway Corporation of Thailand dismissed six SRUT union committee members and said they planned to sack a further eight union leaders in the escalating row over rail safety.
ITF news release and update •
You can help! Send a protest letter to the State Railway Corporation of Thailand • Risks 432 • 14 November 2009
Britain: Members back bullying whistleblower
Staff at Wrexham's Glyndwr University have voted “overwhelmingly” for strike action in support of a lecturer who was fired after whistleblowing about management bullying. The University and College Union (UCU) says members at the university also voted for action other than a strike in support of Hamish Murphy.
UCU news release • BBC News Online • Risks 432 • 14 November 2009
Britain: Agencies in asbestos jobs blunder
Eleven employment agencies have been warned by the Employment Agency Standards inspectorate (EAS) after advertising for asbestos removal workers without properly checking the health and safety implications. EAS said it acted swiftly on a tip off that agencies were advertising vacancies for asbestos removal workers without having the proper Health and Safety Executive (HSE) licenses.
BIS news release • EAS webpages • Risks 431 • 7 November 2009
Britain: Judge rejects SSE''s ‘paranoid'' terror claims
Power company Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) has failed in a High Court bid to use the Prevention of Terrorism Act against a dismissed worker in an attempt to stop anti-blacklisting protests outside its power station construction site.
BBC News Online • Blacklist blog • Manchester Evening News • Risks 429 • 24 October 2009
Britain: Push to strengthen blacklist law
Construction union UCATT has enlisted the help of a group of Labour MPs in a move to pressure the government to beef up the draft regulations designed to outlaw blacklisting for trade union activities. The MPs agreed to take this action at the 20 October parliamentary launch of ‘Ruined Lives'', a UCATT-commissioned academic report that argues the proposed anti-blacklisting regulations need major improvements.
UCATT news release • Blacklist blog • Blacklisting ruins lives, EDM 2093 • Contract Journal • Risks 429 • 24 October 2009
Britain: Call for blacklisting inquiry
The author of a UCATT response to the government''s plans for legislation to combat blacklisting of trade unionists for their safety and other union activities has said the proposed measures “are hardly worth the paper they are printed on”. Keith Ewing, professor of public law at King''s College London, said: “The proposed regulations as put out to consultation by BIS are so full of holes that they are hardly worth the paper they are printed on.”
The Morning Star • Blacklisting blog • Contract Journal • Risks 427 • 10 October 2009
Britain: Wider action needed on blacklisting
Workers found to have been blacklisted for their safety and trade union activities should be told about the listing and should be compensated, a report for construction union UCATT has recommended. ‘Ruined Lives'' was submitted as evidence to the government''s consultation on blacklisting.
UCATT news release • Blacklist blog • Risks 424 • 19 September 2009
Britain: Judge proposes blacklist test cases
Workers who are taking legal action against employers on the grounds that they were refused employment after being blacklisted for their trade union and safety activities may have their fate decided by three test cases in north-west England.
Building • Blacklist blog • Risks 424 • 19 September 2009
Blacklist protest at major site
Building workers who claim they are being denied jobs because of an illegal blacklist protested last week outside a £350m shopping development. The Unite members believe their union activities are being used against them by firms involved in the Rock Triangle project in Bury, Greater Manchester.
Contract Journal • BBC News Online and related BBC video clip • Blacklist blog • 5 September 2009
South Africa: Safety protest workers are safe
Paper workers in South Africa who were under threat of dismissal after a safety dispute are to retain their jobs after a union campaign. The dispute between pulp and paper manufacturer Sappi and the union CEPPWAWU at the company''s Enstra mill was resolved early in August.
ICEM news release • Risks 421 • 29 August 2009
Britain: Jail threat vital to deter union blacklists
Employers and consultants who blacklist trade unionists should face the full weight of the criminal law including the ultimate sanction of imprisonment, a top law firm has said. Employment law experts Thompsons Solicitors has told business secretary Peter Mandelson that the civil law sanctions proposed by the government in its consultation on the prohibition of blacklisting are “wholly inadequate” to deal with such a fundamental attack on human rights and freedoms.
Thompsons Solicitors news release and full response by Thompsons Solicitors on The Blacklisting of Trade Unionists: Consultation on the Revised Draft Regulations • Blacklist blog • Risks 421 • 29 August 2009
Britain: Union call for tougher blacklist action
A union has called for action against unpunished blacklist users after the Information Commissioner''s Office served enforcement notices on just 14 of the subscribers to a covert blacklisting operation. The regulator said it could not take action against other 30 contractors who paid in to The Consulting Association as it did not find enough evidence against them.
Construction News • Blacklist blog • Risks 419 • 15 August 2009
Britain: Blacklist blog
Hazards magazine''s ‘blacklist blog'' is tracking the use of covert surveillance data against trade unionists – it''s a health and safety story because union health and safety activity or even concern appears to be a fast track to blacklisting, with union safety rep credentials a regular feature in blacklist dossiers. Hazards is also concerned that other seemingly legitimate outfits – management consultants and law firms, for example – may be providing blacklisting advice as part of “union avoidance” services.
Blacklist blog and related feature on the wider blacklisting concerns • Risks 418 • 8 August 2009
Britain: Construction firms “owned” blacklister
A covert operation that blacklisted trade unionists was more organised than previously thought, according to confidential internal documents. The Consulting Association was shutdown in February by the Information Commissioner for breaches of the Data Protection Act after providing construction firms with dossiers on safety and other activities by trade unionists.
The Guardian • Blacklist blog • Risks 418 • 8 August 2009
Britain: Trade in personal data cost livelihoods
Privacy watchdog the Information Commissioner''s Office (ICO) has served enforcement notices on 14 construction firms following breaches of the Data Protection Act. The firms were all subscribers to a covert blacklisting service provided by The Consulting Association, shutdown in February by the ICO.
ICO news release [pdf] • Blacklist blog and events listing • Morning Star • Construction News • Building • Risks 418 • 8 August 2009
Britain: Blacklisted workers form action 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.
Building • Construction News and related article on payments to The Consulting Association • 1 August 2009
Britain: Blacklisting site firms evade justice
The private investigator whose company traded in illegally held information on over 3,000 trade unionists has received a small fine – and the firms that bankrolled and used the service are to escape scot free. A judge fined Ian Kerr, the man who ran covert blacklisting outfit the Consulting Association, £5,000 and ordered him to pay the Information Commissioner''s Office''s (ICO) costs of £1,187.
ICO news release [pdf] • The Guardian • The Times • Contract Journal • Construction News • Risks 416 • 25 July 2009
[victimisation]Britain: Unions condemn 'totally inadequate' fine
Unions have condemned as 'totally inadequate' the fine of £5,000 levied on company boss Ian Kerr who admitted running an illegal blacklisting service. TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “Thousands of trade unionists have been unable to work as a result of this man's activities, and may struggle to get work in the future.”
TUC news release • UCATT news release • Construction News • Risks 416 • 25 July 2009
Australia: Union official faces jail threat
A West Australian construction union official says he is prepared to go to jail in his continuing safety campaign for union members. Joe McDonald, the assistant secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) was fined Aus$10,000 (£4,880) by a Perth magistrate for unlawfully entering three building sites two years ago.
ABC News • Risks 415 • 18 July 2009
Britain: Unions welcome blacklisting ban plan
Unions have welcomed a government decision to push ahead with a ban on blacklisting of trade union activists.
Unite news release • UNISON news release • Usdaw news release • UCATT news release • Construction News • Risks 414 • 11 July 2009
Britain: Moves to outlaw blacklisting by bosses
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
Global: Urgent! Tell Sappi to stop safety victimisation!
Global union federation ICEM is renewing its call for support for 42 Sappi workers in South Africa, victimised after making a stand on safety and who now face renewed disciplinary action on 7 July. Among other measures, management at the paper and pulp multinational has suspended all 19 shop stewards at the paper mill.
ACT NOW! ICEM call • The global union federation is urging people and organisations to send letter of protest to Sappi managers John Rowland, Andre Oberholzer, Dinga Mncube and Dave Glazebook • Risks 412 • 4 July 2009
Britain: McAlpine denies union blacklist claim
Sir Robert McAlpine, a top contributor to the coffers of an illegal blacklisting operation, is denying claims that it used a blacklist to refuse work to a former bricklayer. UCATT activist Mick Dooley launched a claim against McAlpine in the wake of the blacklisting scandal which engulfed the industry earlier this year.
Contract Journal • 4 July 2009
Britain: Don''t let them victimise safety rep Penny!
A trade union safety rep was fired in May - just for trying to keep her workplace safe. Penny Gower, an EIS activist was summarily dismissed by Carnegie College in Dunfermline after she undertook a workplace health and safety inspection, a core, legally protected, safety rep function.
Email messages of protest to Carnegie College management and copy to Penny''s EIS branch • Scottish Educational Journal, EIS, June 2009, page 12 [pdf] • Risks 412 • 27 June 2009
UCATT wins blacklist data battle
Construction workers who have been blacklisted will have more time to access their records following the direct intervention of construction union UCATT. In March the Information Commissioner revealed that over 40 major construction companies were using the services of the Consulting Association to blacklist workers, commonly because they had raised concerns about site health and safety.
UCATT news release • Risks 412 • 27 June 2009
Global: Help South Africa's Sappi workers!
Sappi, the global pulp and paper giant, has suspended 19 shop stewards in South Africa who stood up for a worker who refused dangerous work. Their union CEPPWAWU and the global union federation ICEM are asking for your support in urging management at the Enstra mill to reinstate the workers and drop disciplinary proceedings.
ICEM briefing • Send an email letter of protest to Sappi CEO Ralph J Boëttger and copy it to ICEM • Risks 411 • 20 June 2009
Britain: Food workers welcome gangmaster action
A crackdown on abusive gangmasters has been welcomed by a food union. GMB was commenting after two gangmasters has their licences revoked.
GMB Universal Services Ltd news release and GMB Saphire news release • GLA news release • Risks 409 • 6 June 2009
Britain: ‘Gutless'' blacklister sent to the Crown Court
Construction union UCATT has “warmly welcomed” the decision to refer blacklister Ian Kerr to the Crown Court for sentencing. The private investigator, who did not attend this week''s hearing at Macclesfield Magistrates Court, pleaded guilty to running an unlawful blacklisting service on building workers.
UCATT news release • ICO news release [pdf] • The Guardian • Contract Journal • Risks 408 • 30 May 2009
Britain: Skanska promises to stop blacklisting
Site union UCATT has won a commitment from construction multinational Skanska that no form of blacklisting will be tolerated on their sites and that an investigation will be launched into their past conduct.
UCATT news release • The Observer • Contract Journal • Risks 408 • 30 May 2009
Britain: Action call on construction gangmasters
Migrant worker abuse in the construction industry must be tackled within two years or the gangmaster law should be extended to cover the sector, a government select committee has recommended. The recommendation of the Home Affairs Select Committee has been welcomed by unions, but they say action should not be delayed.
The Trade in Human Beings: Human Trafficking in the UK, Home Affairs Committee - Sixth Report • UCATT news release • Unite news release • Risks 407 • 23 May 2009
Britain: Victimised union activist seeks justice
Construction giant Sir Robert McAlpine is facing a compensation claim from a blacklisted bricklayer who believes he was turned down for work by the company. UCATT activist Mick Dooley has lodged his claim with the Employment Tribunal.
Contract Journal • People Management • Risks 406 • 16 May 2009
Britain: UCATT welcomes blacklisting action
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
Britain: Move to stop blacklisting of union reps
The government intends to introduce new regulations to prevent union members being denied employment by secret blacklists, business secretary Peter Mandelson has said.
BERR news release • Personnel Today • BBC News Online • The Guardian • Risks 406 • 16 May 2009
Britain: Government to review blacklisting
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
Britain: Government pledge to end blacklists
The government has pledged to put an end to blacklisting of safety reps and other union activists. Harriet Harman, deputy leader of the Labour Party, told the House of Commons: “I don't think a trade union health and safety representative should find they are on a blacklist and will never be able to work again.”
UCATT news release • Contract Journal • Building • Construction News • The Scotsman • The Guardian • EDM 1020 - Blacklisting in construction • Risks 398 • 21 March 2009
Britain: Law needed to outlaw blacklisting
Unions have called for the urgent introduction of new laws to protect workers from blacklisting. Regulations were due to be introduced a decade ago, but where shelved when the government said there was insufficient evidence the practice took place.
TUC news release • UCATT news release and related release • Unite news release • RMT news release • STUC news release • Risks 397 • 14 March 2009
Britain: Action threat over employee blacklist
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
Britain: Sick sacked RMT activist wins round one
A train driver who is also a prominent activist in his union has won the first round of his battle to reverse his dismissal. RMT union rep Derrick Marr was fired by train-operating company National Express East Anglia, ostensibly on health grounds but the union argued he had been victimised for his union activities.
RMT news release • Risks 394 • 21 February 2009
Britain: Payout for fired flea bitten whistleblower
A woman who was dismissed from her job as a waitress at Hafan y Môr holiday centre in Pwllheli after raising health and safety concerns has won an unfair dismissal claim. A tribunal accepted Maria Moon, 46, had been sacked because she raised health and safety issues after suffering flea bites in the chalet where she lived.
BBC News Online • Risks 393 • 14 February 2009
Britain: Payout for railway injury whistleblower
A rail worker has been awarded £200,000 in compensation for being sacked after he blew the whistle on a manager who asked him to lie about a workplace injury. Jim Glencross, 58, from Carlisle, said Network Rail sacked him because he reported unsafe working practices which led to a colleague being injured.
Cumberland News • BBC News Online • Risks 390 • 24 January 2009
USA: Starbucks payout for victimised barista
Global gourmet coffee chain Starbucks has been ordered to reinstate an employee who was fired after raising safety concerns and to pay him back wages. Starbucks was found to have unlawfully terminated the barista in retaliation for filing a complaint about a perennially leaking roof.
Grand Rapids Starbucks Workers Union news report • Risks 387 • 20 December 2008
threat over victimised safety rep
Around 2,500 Tube infrastructure workers at
Metronet are to be balloted for industrial action following the victimisation
of an RMT safety rep. RMT is also angry at the company''s “dangerous
plans” to reduce signals maintenance and attempts to impose rosters.
376 • 4 October 2008
Language classes make workers safer
Refuse workers in Brighton are being given
English lessons in a union-backed initiative that has led to a dramatic
improvement in safety. So many of the 400 staff at Brighton and Hove
City Council''s Hollingdean depot were being injured that bosses
and union officials teamed up to run the language classes; as a result
of the training, the accident rate has plummeted.
374 • 20 September 2008
workers need better protection
Unions have called for a tranche of measures
to provide better protection for vulnerable workers. A motion from retail
union Usdaw agreed at the TUC Congress 2008 this week said there must
be effective enforcement of rights to protect vulnerable and agency
CoVE • Risks
373 • 13 September 2008
mine whistleblower wins appeal
A federal review panel has ruled that a US
government agency illegally dismissed a manager overseeing the cleanup
of a toxic mine site for raising serious worker safety, radiation, air
and water pollution problems.
272 • 6 September 2008
Britain: Most workers
won''t blow the whistle
Fewer than one in every three workers would
blow the whistle on their employer if they broke health and safety laws,
according to the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).
A YouGov poll commissioned by IOSH found that only 28 per cent of people
would report their company or organisation to the Health and Safety
Executive (HSE) if it was in breach of health and safety legislation.
272 • 6 September 2008
staff attacked at attack sacking protest
A man was arrested by plain clothes police
following an attack on striking station attendants protesting at the
victimisation of a colleague after he suffered a violent attack at work.
Around 100 RMT members at Elephant and Castle, Charing Cross and Lambeth
North Tube stations took 24 hour action on 28 July to demand the reinstatement
of Jerome Bowes, dismissed after defending himself against a violent
assault on New Year''s Eve.
367 • 2 August 2008
Europe: Lidl accused
of spying on its staff
German supermarket group Lidl has denied that
it spied on its staff, but has admitted that it placed secret cameras
in its stores. The multinational company, which also confirmed it had
employed private detectives, insisted that it carried out the measures
simply to combat shoplifting.
BusinessWeek • The
Times • Risks
350 • 5 April 2008
faces monitoring stress
Millions of employees are suffering exhaustion,
work-related anxiety and a deteriorating family life as a result of
intrusive workplace surveillance, according to extensive surveys of
both employers and employees funded by the Economic and Social Research
Council. The researchers say rising work strain is being caused by the
use of information and communications technology (ICT) to monitor and
check work continuously.
news release • Better opportunities,
greater pressures for Britain''s employees, summary [pdf] • Hazards
magazine workplace surveillance webpages • Risks
338 • 12 January 2008
Unite secures pay for victimised TNT rep
Giant courier company TNT has been forced
to continue paying a Unite member who was victimised for his union activity
and fired after being injured at work. After repeated objections to
his election as a shop steward, the company sacked Dave Reeves before
Christmas, claiming that an accident in which he sustained shoulder
and back injuries, and for which he had not claimed any compensation,
was a fake.
news release • Risks
338 • 12 January 2008
threatens to sack trade union steward seriously hurt at work
UNISON slams a heartless employer
who gave union rep a final written warning after he was badly injured
doing his job.
Hazards news, 5 October 2005
Hopping mad union attacks kangaroo courts Trade union members donned convict outfits on 2 March 2005 and chained
themselves together outside Tower Hamlets town hall after council bosses
put two union safety activists before kangaroo courts. The
union says that John Gray, who is the branch''s joint health and
safety officer, was targeted the day after serving a Union Safety
Inspection Notice on workplace stress on Tower Hamlets CEO Christine
Tower Hamlets UNISON
news release and Hands
off our union background
document Hazards news, 2 March 2005
Hazards victimisation news archive