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
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 branchs 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