Parliamentary report into blacklisting: the scandal grows

Today saw publication of the interim parliamentary report on blacklisting by the Scottish Select Affairs Committee. In its statement released today, the committee says that the major construction firms that established and funded a systematic blacklist of construction industry workers appear to be continuing to avoid taking full responsibility for their actions.

The report is utterly damning, and the committee says that while the blacklist was not initially illegal, it was always morally indefensible, and the companies involved continued to use it after it had become illegal. The companies involved included some of the biggest names in construction but also many smaller firms. The organisation set up to create, maintain and operate the blacklist – the Consulting Association (TCA) – appears to have been largely established by Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd, which also provided TCA’s Chairmen for eight of its 16 years of operation. Other major subscribers included Carillion, Skanska and Balfour Beatty. Continue reading

Ten questions about blacklisting industrial workers we need a public inquiry to answer

The blacklisted workers’ case against McAlpine will soon begin in the High Court. But even before that we need a commitment that a Labour Government will institute a public inquiry into the blacklisting scandal, arguably the worst human rights abuse against workers since the war which robbed thousands of them of a job for 20 or more years. This was the subject of an excellent Opposition Day debate in the House initiated by Chuka Umunna a few months ago, but it does need to be followed through.

The public inquiry should investigate the following 10 issues: Continue reading

Spooks face complaint over links to blacklisting, as union demands full investigation

Blacklisted workers have lodged a formal complaint to the security services watchdog, calling for an investigation about potential involvement of MI5, the Government Communications HQ and other sections of the security services over the recent Consulting Association blacklisting scandal.

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal which received the complaint on 21 February was lodged by Sarah McSherry of Christian Khan solicitors on behalf of the Blacklist Support Group and comes only a few days after the IPCC revealed that they had asked the Met Police “Operation Herne” to investigate the role of undercover police officers in blacklisting of trade union members in the construction industry. Continue reading

Legal set back for Carillion over blacklisting

The construction and services giant Carillion received a blow yesterday at the Employment Appeal Tribunal when Mr Justice Singh found that the case of blacklisted UCATT safety rep, Dave Smith, raised questions of wide public significance and therefore allowed an appeal in a two day contested hearing probably in spring or early summer. Frank Morris, another blacklisted worker, has his first day in court at London central Employment Tribunal later today

Dave Smith took a case against three Carillion owned companies to Employment Tribunal in London in January 2012. In the judgment in March 2012 (Case no 1310709/2009) the judge said “It seems to us that he has suffered a genuine injustice and we greatly regret that the law provides him with no remedy”. Continue reading

Blacklisting: the civil liberties scandal that grows and grows

Saturday’s Daily Mirror reported the shocking fact that environmental campaigners have been listed alongside construction workers on the notorious blacklist illegally maintained by the Consulting Association, on behalf of big building firms like Carillion, Balfour Beatty and MacAlpines.

Eco-warrior Tamsin Omond was kept under surveillance and put on a scandalous construction blacklist alongside thousands of workers.

She said last night it was outrageous that she had been snooped on just for being a green campaigner. Tamsin, 28, was one of 240 women who appeared on the 3,213-name list of “troublemakers”. She was unaware she was on the file until the Mirror tracked her down on a trip to India and broke the news. Continue reading