Socialist Worker

Police and spies under fire for their blacklist collusion

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2293

The scandal of companies blacklisting construction workers hit the mainstream media at the weekend when the Observer reported on the case of Dave Smith.

Dave was fired from a building site after presenting a petition from 150 workers complaining about the “pigsty” toilets workers had to endure. He was a safety rep for the Ucatt union.

He took the firm Carillion to an employment tribunal.

There it was revealed that security services and police had provided information for the construction industry blacklist.

Dave’s case was first reported in Socialist Worker at the beginning of this year.

He obtained a legal order letting him view the entire “Consulting Association” blacklist—and found his own file was 36 pages long.

David Clancy is an investigations manager at the Information Commissioner’s Office. He said in evidence, “There is information on the Consulting Association files that I believe could only be supplied by the police or the security services.”

Clancy also told the court that the Consulting Association held files on elected politicians, journalists, lawyers and academics.

“The information was so specific and it contained in effect operational information that wouldn’t have formed anything other than a police record,” he said.

Dave Smith also made these allegations in his witness statement. Some files even name people who were spoken to by police on anti‑racist demonstrations.

As Dave points out, “Why would an employee of the Consulting Association possibly be following these individuals on a Sunday afternoon, let alone be able to identify them all?”

Mick Dooley, another blacklisted worker, made similar allegations during his 2010 tribunal against Balfour Beatty.

Labour MP John McDonnell has spoken out against the blacklisting scandal. “I am outraged at the systematic abuse of people’s rights,” he said.

“No one has been willing to believe the extent to which there has been collusion between police, security services and companies.”

The blacklist names workers involved in a number of construction disputes.

Most are described as “troublemakers”—code for trade unionist. One worker is described as being “seen at left wing meeting”. The source for this information is a construction company.

For more on the blacklist see and our earlier article on Dave Smith’s case

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Article information

Tue 6 Mar 2012, 18:39 GMT
Issue No. 2293
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