Members of the Blacklist Support Group collected an ‘Alan’ award at July’s National Hazards Conference in Manchester. They nabbed the biggest prize in safety activism following a highly successful campaign to expose the major construction employers who have operated blacklists targeting union safety activists.
An electrician blacklisted from the construction industry won the right to take his case to a full tribunal. Steve Kelly, one of over 3,000 workers whose data was found on an illegal blacklist run by disgraced firm The Consulting Association, believes he was targeted because of his trade union health and safety activity.
At a preliminary tribunal last week in east London Mr Kelly won the right to bring a case to full tribunal against electrical sub-contractors ECS. He was employed by the firm in 2007 but was sacked within days, allegedly for poor work.
However after obtaining his file from the Information Commissioner’s Office he discovered documentation which he believes shows that either the firm, which was a sub-contractor for Sir Robert McAlpine, or McAlpine’s itself dismissed him due to his trade union activities. Both firms have denied the allegation, although McAlpine’s is known to have subscribed to The Consulting Association’s blacklist and was one of the most enthusiastic users of the service.
Mr Kelly also believes that his being blacklisted cost him a number of other jobs in the industry. He told the Morning Star: “My only aim was to earn a living and improve health and safety conditions for myself and my workmates but I’ve been treated like a criminal. I’ve been robbed of the trade I decided to go into as a 16-year-old.”
He added he “was more fortunate than some, I’ve heard of people who lost their homes, their families, marriages split up. I know of five former workmates who have committed suicide since, primarily because they couldn’t get work.”
The tribunal is scheduled for April 2011.