Cameron says ‘no’ to blacklisting inquiry

HACKED OFF David Cameron backed a full inquiry into phone hacking, but told Adam Smith (right) he had no intention of ordering a probe into blacklisting.

Prime Minister David Cameron was recently interviewed by award winning journalist Adam Smith – author of ‘Obama and Me’ – and was asked about the blacklisting in the construction industry. The exchange was illuminating.

Adam Smith “With the blacklisting scandal affecting over 3,000 people up and down the country is it not time for a public inquiry?”

David Cameron “What is needed to make sure we exercise the legislation that is now in place, this is something that happened under the last government and now there is now legislation in place to stop illegal blacklisting.”

Adam Smith “So you don’t think there should be a public inquiry?”

David Cameron “As I say I think enforcing the law that we have now is the most important thing.”

Commenting on this confirmation the prime minister is personally opposed to a blacklisting public inquiry, Blacklist Support Group secretary Dave Smith said: “Blacklisting is a national scandal akin to McCarthyism. There is documentary proof of police and security services collusion with the Consulting Association and lawyers for the UK government have recently admitted that blacklisting was a breach of human rights.

“Blacklisting of trade unionists is no longer an industrial relations issue; it is a major human rights conspiracy between multinational corporations and the state.  Despite all this, David Cameron has said ‘no’ to a public inquiry.”

Dave Smith added: “Blacklisting is working class phone-hacking. Only a fully independent public inquiry will get to the truth of the blacklisting human rights scandal and expose all the corporate and state spying on trade unionists who raised concerns about safety issues: UK citizens participating in perfectly peaceful democratic activities.

“It is not surprising that a Conservative prime minister funded by big business does not want a public inquiry. But that is what blacklisted workers, their unions and the TUC are calling for.

“Ed Miliband could demonstrate he supports working people against predatory capitalism by committing a future Labour government to a full public inquiry into blacklisting with be an election pledge in the manifesto.”

Sorry site bosses ridiculed by MPs

By Dave Smith, Blacklist Support Group

Bosses from blacklist companies were humiliated during a packed 16 July 2014 witness session for a parliamentary Select Committee when MPs repeatedly accused them of setting out to “deliberately mislead parliament”.

The Scottish Affairs Select Committee investigation into blacklisting heard evidence from Nick Pollard, chief executive of Balfour Beatty, Andrew Ridley-Barker, managing director of Vinci Construction and Callum Tuckett, group finance and commercial director at Laing O’Rourke plus Richard Slaven, partner at Pinsent mason solicitors and Richard Duke from the PR company Grayling.

Conservative MP Simon Reevell condemned the letter sent by the industry’s hired spin doctor Richard Dukes on behalf of the blacklist compensation scheme which he said was “intended to mislead every member of parliament” by claiming falsely that unions and representatives of blacklisted workers supported the scheme.

Labour MP Jim McGovern told the industry bosses point blankly that they had “misled this committee and misled parliament.”

MPs identified that Vinci, Laing O’Rourke and Balfour Beatty companies had paid in excess of £335,000 to the Consulting Association which equated to approximately 200,000 name checks on construction workers. 600 workers had either been denied employment or had personal information information added to the blacklist database by the 3 firms or their predecessor companies.

The construction bosses were continually ridiculed and  interrupted by Labour, Liberal and Conservative MPs alike who refused to accepted their grovelling apologies for their role in the Consulting Association blacklisting scandal with Select   Committee chair Ian Davidson  accusing the scheme of being “purely damage limitation” rather than a genuine desire to show “repentance.”

The levels of compensation being offered by the scheme were also forensically taken apart by MPs and Richard Slaven, partner at law firm Pinsent Mason was forced to admit that he could not quote a single authority to justify the pitifully low figures being offered by the blacklist firms who MPs identified as having a combined annual turnover of £34 billion. Slaven was accused of being “not exactly razor sharp” by former barrister  Simon Reevell.

The MPs suggested a number of changes that the firms said they would go back and consider including extending the schemes period to three years to allow for the High Court trial to conclude before workers needed to make a decision.

Ian Davidson again repeated his suggestion that the compensation scheme that had been condemned by the Blacklist Support Group and trade unions should exist to provide “interim damages” which would be increased once the High Court trial finished. The MPs stated that unless the scheme was drastically improved and the firms showed real attempts to clean up their acts that they should “be denied access to future public contracts.”