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Construction industry blacklisting still goes on, union warns

PUBLISHED: 08:43 05 September 2017 | UPDATED: 08:43 05 September 2017

Unite has warned that union members are still being blacklisted by construction industry firms. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Unite has warned that union members are still being blacklisted by construction industry firms. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

Blacklisting of workers is continuing in the construction industry despite a long campaign to outlaw the practice, a union has said.

Unite said companies which have paid out huge amounts of money in compensation in recent years were still targeting union members for unfair treatment.

The claims were made ahead of a Westminster Hall debate on Tuesday into blacklisting.

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail, said: “Contemporary blacklisting is an ongoing scandal in the construction industry.

“Multinational companies which have already been taken through the courts for wrecking the lives of workers by blacklisting them, appear to have learnt nothing.

“Blacklisting is still continuing and workers are still having their lives ruined at the whim of employers simply for being a union member or for having raised safety concerns.

“Until companies are brought to account, there is a full public inquiry into blacklisting and effective anti-blacklisting laws are introduced this disgusting practice will continue.”

Workers will stage a protest on Tuesday close to Big Ben in Westminster to highlight fears that companies given contacts to refurbish the famous tower and clock are among those still alleged to be blacklisting union members and other employees.

Dave Smith, of the Blacklist Support Group, said: “It seems the Tories are more interested in symbols of democracy and human rights than actual human rights of their own constituents.

“The hypocritical platitudes of Tory ministers make me sick. The bells of Big Ben may have fallen silent but blacklisted workers refuse to stay silent about this national scandal.”

Labour MP Jack Dromey said: “Blacklisting is a scandal which never went away. It blighted the lives of thousands of workers for many years and led to many of them being unable to find work.

“There needs to be an urgent public enquiry into the practice of blacklisting and stronger laws put in place to stop it continuing.

“There is no way companies which are complicit in blacklisting should be awarded public contracts.

“Stronger procurement rules are vital for making sure that companies who blacklist are themselves blacklisted.”

A Business Department spokesman said: “Blacklisting is illegal and has absolutely no place in modern work.

“There is no substantive evidence of blacklisting happening since regulation was introduced in 2010.

“Anyone found to be exploiting personal sensitive data, for blacklisting or otherwise, can expect to face the full force of the law.”

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