Socialist Worker

Get blacklisting firms out of public projects, say MPs

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2395

Workers held a vigil at Crossrail in central London on Thursday of last week after a worker died on the site earlier this month

Workers held a vigil at Crossrail in central London on Thursday of last week after a worker died on the site earlier this month (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Firms that blacklist workers should be blacklisted themselves according to a committee of MPs.

The Scottish Affairs Committee said companies that had been caught blacklisting should undertake a process of "self-cleaning".

This would include an admission of guilt and paying compensation.

The damning report into says that just ending blacklisting is not enough.

The MPs argue that monitoring and reporting procedures for health and safety, as well as a commitment to direct employment should be adopted as standard throughout for all publicly funded projects.

Steve Acheson, chair of the Blacklist Support Group said: "I would like to put on record, the heart felt appreciation of all blacklisted workers for the tremendous work done by MPs on the Scottish Affairs Select Committee. Honest hard working men and women have been denied the opportunity to provide for their families because we were members of a trade union or dared to raise concerns about health and safety on a building site.

“The companies involved have show no contrition and even less recompense for their actions, most of the directors responsible for blacklisting are still in post. The MPs call for no publicly funded contracts for blacklisting firms may now concentrate their minds.

A secret list of more than 3,000 people who were blacklisted by construction firms was discovered five years ago.

Some workers had been included on the list merely for raising health and safety issues.

Safety

It was found during a raid by the Information Commissioner's Office on the Consulting Association.

Ian Davidson, the Labour MP for Glasgow South West, said, "Had these companies not been caught, blacklisting would still be happening, and indeed we have heard evidence that it is still going on in some areas.

"Although blacklisting is illegal now, it is not enough to just end the practice.

"Reparations must be made, and steps must be taken so that we are pro-actively preventing these practices - and the health and safety problems they lead to - rather than just stopping it when it happens.”

The MPs said many of those on the blacklist had still not been told about their inclusion.

The Mps paid tribute "to the activists of the Blacklisting Support Group, who have fought over a long number of years to maintain this issue in the public eye and to seek recognition for the injustices experienced by so many working people."

According to Steve, “This report vindicates the years of tireless campaigning that many trade unionists and supporters have carried out not just over the past five years since the secret blacklist was discovered but over decades.

“The report barely lifts the lid on this evil conspiracy and we will not stop our campaign until a fully independent public inquiry into all of the aspects of blacklisting are exposed and the guilty brought to justice."


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