Britain: Criminal firms should pay – BSG

Blacklist Support Group press statement

The illegal actions of the major UK construction firms have once again been exposed by the OFT Report into rigging tenders for public work.

The long running underhand operation has cost the taxpayer millions of pounds over many years and quite rightly the contractors have been fined. But it does stick in the throat, that when the exact same companies were caught red-handed blacklisting ordinary building workers for being a member of a trade union or for raising concerns about site safety that they did not even suffer a slap on the wrist.

Ian Kerr, the managing Director of the Consulting Association was fined an insulting £5000 after being prosecuted by the Information Commissioners Office. Not one of the major construction firms involved in the illegal blacklisting operation faced a single penny fine.

If money is involved, the law comes down hard on the fraudulent firms – but ruin workers lives and nothing.

The contractors appear to believe that because they are worth millions of pounds that normal laws do not apply to them. They have breached the Human Rights of ordinary building workers and defrauded the public of millions of pounds.

The guilty firms should be placed on a blacklist and debarred from bidding from publicly funded projects. Blacklist the blacklisting building companies.

Dave Smith Blacklist Support Group

Blacklist Support Group House of Commons meeting

House of Commons meeting

6pm Tues 6 October 2009
House of Commons

 Speakers include:
* John McDonnell MP
Prof. Keith Ewing (author of Ruined Lives: Institute of Employment Rights report on blacklisting)
* David Clancy invited (Head of Information Commissioners Office Investigation team)
* Sean Curran (solicitor taking data protection cases)
* Blacklisted building workers

Blacklist Support Group

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 UK construction union UCATT has recommended.

‘Ruined Lives’, commissioned by the union from the Institute of Employment Rights and written by Professor Keith Ewing, was submitted as evidence to the government’s consultation on blacklisting. It says the regulations to be introduced by the government should specify that it is illegal to blacklist anyone because of “activities associated with trade unions” and that if a blacklist is discovered it should be forfeited and all the people on the list notified that they have been blacklisted.

The report also argues that to use or maintain a blacklist must be a specific criminal offence. And it adds if a worker has been blacklisted then they should receive an automatic award for basic compensation. Where the blacklisting has resulted in loss, there should be an entitlement for an additional compensatory award, it says.
Continue reading “Wider action needed on blacklisting”

Judge proposes blacklist test cases

Workers who are taking legal action against employers on the grounds that they were refused employment after being blacklisted may have their fate decided by three test cases in north-west England.

A number of trade union reps who believe they were victimised for their health and safety activities have already initiated tribunal cases.

The test case proposal has been put forward by Mr Justice Brain, who is presiding over an employment tribunal in Manchester, as a way of resolving other cases quickly. It is not known how many workers are suing, but about 3,200 were included on the list run by a private detective called Ian Kerr, and used by many of the UK’s largest contractors.

A report in trade journal Building says letters have been sent to employers and blacklisted workers in the area to ask whether they would be amenable to consolidating the cases in order to achieve a speedier resolution.

The cases would be chosen by lawyers representing workers and contractors, and would set a precedent that would allow the speedy resolution of other cases.

Data watchdog says abusers should face jail

The Information Commissioner has called for prison sentences for data abuse offenders. The UK’s data protection watchdog this week called for prison sentences for people found guilty of serious misuse of confidential personal information.

The move follows high profile cases this year, including the prosecution of Ian Kerr for running a construction industry-backed service that blacklisted trade union and safety activists. He received a £5,000 fine.
Continue reading “Data watchdog says abusers should face jail”