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.

Commenting on the publication of the government’s response to a public consultation on the subject held over the summer, Lord Young said: “Blacklisting someone because they are a member of a trade union is totally unacceptable. There is already legal protection against the misuse of people’s personal details. We will now strengthen the law by introducing new regulations to outlaw the compilation, dissemination and use of blacklists.”

The minister added: “The government is determined to stamp out this despicable practice and our legislative proposals are a proportionate and robust response.”

The regulations will:
• make it unlawful for organisations to refuse employment or sack individuals as a result of appearing on a blacklist;
• make it unlawful for employment agencies to refuse to provide a service on the basis of appearing on a blacklist; and
• enable individuals or unions to pursue compensation or solicit action against those who compile, distribute or use blacklists. 

The regulations will be tabled for consideration by parliament as soon as possible, the minister said. The government’s claim that the new regulations “need to be debated and approved by each House before they can be implemented,” runs counter to earlier advice that business secretary could go ahead and introduce the necessary amendments to the Employment Relations Act 1999 without further debated.

The government said provided parliament gives its approval, the regulations could be brought into effect early next year.

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