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.

UCATT general secretary Alan Ritchie commented: “While we welcome the government’s commitment to introduce regulations to outlaw blacklisting it is essential that they are fully comprehensive.”

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber reiterated his support for action, telling delegates to TUC’s annual congress this week the union movement should “make sure the disgusting anti-democratic practice of blacklisting is outlawed once and for all” and condemned the “shameful activities” of The Consulting Association, the blacklisting organisation shutdown in February by the Information Commissioner, and the major construction firms than controlled and bankrolled the operation.

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