Councils ban blacklisters

Author: 
Padraig O'Brien

Tower Hamlets council in East London has committed not to give contracts to companies found to have been involved in blacklisting during the construction of the Olympic site.

Over 3,000 construction worker trade unionists were blacklisted by 44 companies from 2007. So far, only 200 of them have found out.

St Helens council has also passed a motion condemning blacklisting, and Hull council has committed not to deal with companies found to be complicit in the practise.

The extent of the construction companies’ blacklisting operation has become ever clearer, with the latest evidence showing the firms used the information (collated by a special organisation called the Consulting Association, a 2009 raid on which uncovered the first evidence) not only to keep potential union organisers off their sites, but also to sabotage climate change activists thought likely to protest against environmentally damaging practises. Evidence has also emerged suggesting that officials from UCATT and Amicus (now part of Unite) were also complicit in passing on information about workers to construction companies.

Labour movement figures have called for a proper enquiry. Labour MP John McDonnell said: "This goes on today, just because you're a trade unionist, you stand up for health and safety or simply because you want to ensure justice and fairness at work. I want the inquiry to examine all those things in the past, but I want an inquiry that opens up the doors and invites people to come forward with evidence."

Michael Meacher MP called the blacklist "the worst human rights breach in the UK since the war".