Socialist Worker

Construction workers seething over blacklisting

Issue No. 2267

Construction workers are seething with resentment over the blacklisting of trade union activists.

Dave Smith, an engineer and union health and safety representative, began his court case this week against building firm Carillion plc.

This is a test case on the use of the Human Rights Act in employment law.

In 2009 a raid by the Information Commissioner’s Office revealed a list of over 3,200 workers, compiled by the shady Consulting Association and covertly shared between 44 construction firms.

Some blacklisted workers were found to have files of more than 30 pages, with information including national insurance number, work history, history of trade union activities, photos and details of their families.

In an industry where workers frequently move from one project to another, being blacklisted can be a real block on finding work.

Dave Smith said, “What Carillion and the major building firms did was a deliberate conspiracy against any workers who were prepared to take a stand for basic safety issues.”

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Article information

Tue 30 Aug 2011, 17:11 BST
Issue No. 2267
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