The Consulting Association had been in operation at least 15 years when it was shutdown in February 2009 by privacy watchdog the Information Commissioner. But for workers concerned about health and safety on the job, this does not signal an end to blacklisting at work.
Campaigners – the word itself a red rag to a blacklister – believe the government’s proposed legislative solution is so riddled with flaws and complacent assumptions the practice will continue unseen and largely uncontrolled.
The first problem is the nature of blacklisting. No firm admits to operating a blacklist and no firm admits to using a blacklister’s services – even when caught red-handed.
Sir Robert McAlpine, a top contributor to the coffers of covert blacklisting organisation The Consulting Association, is denying publicly allegations it used the blacklist to refuse work to a former bricklayer.
In June, Mick Dooley – a long-time activist with construction union UCATT – launched a claim against McAlpine.
But a letter from the firm to Mick Dooley states: “Sir Robert McAlpine does not deny that it had dealings with the Consulting Association. However the company denies that it was provided with or operated any ‘blacklist’. Specifically we have not provided to or received from any party any information about yourself.” The firm spent over £26,000 in 2008 alone for Consulting Association information to vet potential employees, on top of a £3,000 annual subscription fee. Papers in Dooley’s file mentioned McAlpine’s explicitly. Continue reading “Britain: Not even a start”