A top employment law expert has said the blacklisting law the government is now seeking to introduce is a “disgrace” and “not worth having.”
Professor Keith Ewing of Kings College London, the author of the UCATT commissioned report Ruined Lives: blacklisting in UK construction industry, said: “The government’s response is disgraceful. There has been no consultation. Consultation means engaging in a process with an open mind. They have not changed their mind on anything of substance and have allowed themselves to be driven by the few employers who responded.”
A Blacklist Support Group spokesperson said the rules now going before parliament are “virtually the same as the original regulations the government introduced.” He said the only positive change appears to be a minimum award of £5,000 for any future blacklisting claims won at an employment tribunal.
He expressed dismay that the government instead backs a call from the employer lobby to allow the use of lists for ‘vetting’ workers, so long as it is not illegal or not because of trade union membership, something also condemned by Professor Ewing.
The professor said this “extraordinary statement” on vetting and the failure of the government to listen to submissions from blacklisted workers and unions mean “in their present form the regulations are not worth having; they change nothing, give no new rights, and it’s is a delusion to think otherwise.”
Families Against Corporate Killing (FACK) spokesperson Hilda Palmer also expressed disappointment with the proposals. “It only talks about trade union members – the regulations must refer to all workers,” she said: “We also called for any firm found guilty of blacklisting to be debarred from bidding for government contracts and for penalties to be much more severe.”