Unions call for tougher blacklist action

Unions have called for action against unpunished blacklist users after the Information Commissioner’s Office served enforcement notices on only 14 of the subscribers to a covert blacklisting operation. The regulator said it could not take action against other 30 contractors found to have received invoices from The Consulting Association as it did not find enough evidence against them.

Alan Ritchie, general secretary of construction union UCATT, said: “While I recognise the move to issue enforcement notices on the construction companies listed, I believe straightforward prosecutions would have been a more appropriate response.”

He told trade journal Construction News: “It appears some of the worst offenders have been omitted from the ICO action, including a company that made nearly 13,000 individual checks on workers in 2008 alone. We need to remember that a number of these companies had secured hundreds of millions of pounds from publicly-procured contracts while at the same time operating a blacklist on those same sites. There must now be an additional process to bring other guilty companies to account for the misery they inflicted on thousands of construction workers and their families”.

The Consulting Association’s financial files show several of the firms escaping notices received higher bills from the blacklisting company than those served – with top contributors Skanska and Sir Robert McAlpine having no action taken against them.

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