Union ‘blacklisting’ scandal grows with another expose

1:58 pm - January 21st 2013

by Sunny Hundal    

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Last week Tim Fenton reported that the scandal of ‘blacklisting’ union workers in the construction industry had blown up again after an expose by the Liverpool Echo.

Secret files on thousands of workers in the construction sector had resulted in people being denied employment after raising legitimate health and safety concerns or exercising their human right to belong to a trade union.

As the height of the scandal an estimated 40 of the UK’s largest construction firms used the black-list. Last week,construction firm Balfour Beatty confirmed that it conducted blacklisting checks on individuals seeking work on construction of Olympic venues.

But now a new expose from London’s West End Extra newspaper has made the issue salient again (ht reporter @williammclennan).

The north London newspaper reported on Friday:

AN electrician claims he was kicked off the Crossrail project after being marked out as a whistleblower over an alleged illegal “blacklist”.

Frank Morris is taking the government’s £15billion railway project contractor Bam Ferrovial Kier (BFK) to a tribunal alleging unfair dismissal.

The 38-year-old says he was “victimised” for trade union activity and raising safety concerns – a claim strongly denied by BFK and Crossrail bosses.

To their credit the Labour party has not let the re-surfacing scandal slide. Labour is calling for for action to stop the blacklisting of workers and a full investigation of blacklisting allegations, including in relation to projects such as Crossrail and the Olympic Park.

The issue will be raised in a House of Commons opposition day debate this week.

Labour say that Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna will call for the Information Commissioner in the debate, to adopt a proactive process for informing individual victims of blacklisting so that they can seek compensation.

Labour’s motion will also call on the government to examine whether further changes are needed to ensure that appropriate, effective sanctions are in place to tackle and prevent blacklisting.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments

About time too. Private Eye has been onto this for, oh, a couple of years?

2. Steve Davies01

@cherub Quite. I’ve been on it for the 40 years since being a shop steward in the 1972 UCATT strike. Private Eye have made all the running on this – to the shame of the Labour Party, who have been utterly useless.

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