Information has emerged that implicates the police and intelligence services in a comprehensive operation to help construction industry employers monitor and ultimately blacklist radical workers.
The organisation behind the data collection is the “Consulting Association”, a clandestine body funded by many of the construction industry’s major employers. But the records it gathered were so detailed as to make it almost inconceivable that its data came from any other source except official police records.
Firms behind the “Consulting Association” include Balfour Beatty, whose Engineering Services arm was recently forced into an embarrassing climb-down from its attempt to impose new contracts on mechanical and electrical construction workers after a sustained campaign of grassroots direct action. The information, gathered over the past three decades, has helped firms like Balfour Beatty keep off their sites workers who might raise health and safety concerns or attempt to unionise fellow workers.
The revelation of state collusion in surveillance and blacklisting by capitalist firms is confirmation of what many blacklisted construction workers have suspected for years. 100 of them will now pursue a class action legal case against at least 39 construction industry employers.
Left-wing Labour MP John McDonnell has demanded a parliamentary debate and public enquiry into the scandal. He said: “I am outraged at the systematic abuse of people's rights. This has destroyed people's lives, broken up families, ensured that people have not been able to earn a living. It has devastated people year after year, and nobody has listened to us. No one has been willing to believe the extent to which there has been collusion between police, security services and companies.
“It is all about the ability of companies to exploit workers and destroy anybody who stands up against them.”