Blacklisters face professional abuses charges

On 1 July 2012 the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development – the professional body for Human Resources in the UK –  published a new Code of Conduct for its members. The first complaint made under the new Code is by the Blacklist Support Group, and lays several misconduct charges against five prominent, high-level construction industry managers. This is the full text of the complaint:

The Blacklist Support Group would like to make a formal complaint for serious professional misconduct and serious breaches of the new CIPD Professional Code of Conduct against the following individuals who we believe are current CIPD members:

  • Gerry Harvey – Director of Human Resources at Balfour Beatty Engineering Services Limited
  • Elaine Gallagher – Human Resources manager at Balfour Beatty Engineering Services Limited
  • Liz Keates – Head of Human Resources at Carillion Health
  • John Edwards – manager at Carillion
  • David Cochrane – former Head of Human Resources at Sir Robert McAlpine

The individuals named above have actively participated in the illegal Consulting Association conspiracy that blacklisted trade union members in the construction industry. They either attended meetings or covertly supplied personal data on trade union members to the secret blacklist which was used to systematically deny work to 3200 individuals.

The Consulting Association blacklist resulted in new legislation being introduced (Blacklist Regs 2010), a number of Employment Tribunals in which the HR profession has been seriously criticised and David Cameron even answered questions at PMQs.

The scandal has been described as “the worst case of organised human rights abuse in the UK in the past 50 years” by Professor Keith Ewing of Kings College London and cases have been submitted to the European Court of Human Rights.

Blacklists do not compile themselves: numerous Human Resources  professionals in the construction industry are implicated in the scandal and should be held to account for their serious professional misconduct. People Management has covered the scandal, in one article Skanska admitted that up to 30 of their managers were involved in blacklisting. Yet to date, no disciplinary action has been taken against any of the individuals.

The individuals we accuse above have all been named in Hansard after being exposed for their personal involvement in blacklisting during in evidence given to the Scottish Affairs Select Committee in June 2012.

Gerry Harvey has admitted in an Employment Tribunal that he attended Consulting Association meetings on behalf of Balfour Beatty and is heavily criticised by the judge in the written judgement.

Elaine Gallagher admitted in the same tribunal to being the “main contact” with the Consulting Association at Balfour Beatty Engineering Services Ltd.

Liz Keates of Carillion Health has been identified in Employment Tribunals as supplying information about trade union members to the illegal blacklist.

John Edwards attended Consulting Association meetings in 2008 on behalf of Carillion (proved by invoices disclosed in Employment Tribunals)

David Cochrane has stated in correspondence for a ET claim that he dealt with the Consulting Association for over a decade.

All documentation will be forwarded upon request if a formal investigation proceeds.

As a minimum, we believe that the individuals named are in breach of the following sections of the CIPD Code of Conduct:

2.2 exhibit and defend professional and personal integrity and honesty at all times

2.4 advance employment and business practices that promote equality of opportunity, diversity and inclusion and support human rights and dignity

2.5 safeguard all confidential, commercially sensitive and personal data acquired as a result of business relationships and not use it for personal advantage or the benefit of detriment of third parties.

3.1 always act in a way which supports and upholds the reputation of the profession

3.3 comply with prevailing laws and not encourage, assist or collude with others who may be engaged in unlawful conduct

There is a mountain of documentary evidence that senior HR managers in the construction industry have been involved in systematic human rights abuse over a period of decades. Their misconduct has been a stain on the reputation of the profession. It is time that the CIPD carries out a full disciplinary investigation into the role played by its members.

Complaint made by:

Steve Acheson
Brian Higgins
Steve Kelly
Dave Smith

on behalf of: Blacklist Support Group

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