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MPs call for blacklist for blacklisters

© NUJ

14 March 2014

MPs today published a report calling for blacklisting firms to be banned from publicly funded contracts and 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."

The damning UK parliamentary report into the blacklisting scandal published today says that just ending blacklisting is not enough.

The Scottish Affairs Select Committee investigation says that firms that have been caught blacklisting must undertake a process of ‘self-cleaning’, including an admission of guilt, paying full compensation and taking other appropriate remedial steps. 

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.

Read the Scottish Affairs parliamentary report.

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.
"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."

Ian Davidson MP, chair of the committee, 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.
"Companies that are caught blacklisting now, or do not make the proper reparations, or do not apply agreed standards of practice in their contracts, should be “blacklisted” themselves and barred from obtaining any publicly funded work.
"It is impossible to fully quantify the damage that may have been done to people’s careers and livelihoods, and to their families, as well as to health and safety on site, by these practices, but restitution must be made.
"It must not be left just to the companies themselves to determine what this should be, but it must be agreed after negotiations with the relevant trade unions and representatives of blacklisted workers. It must also be applied to all the victims of blacklisting who have yet to be identified, and where the victim has died, compensation must go to their families.
"We want to pay tribute to both the Welsh government, who have taken a clear and unequivocal ethical stance on this issue and provided a political lead which many other bodies in the public sector have subsequently followed, and 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.
"The role of governments, UK, devolved and local, is absolutely crucial in encouraging and enforcing best practice and in driving out blacklisting. We will now be writing to the coalition government , to the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish governments and to local authority associations, urging them to adopt our proposals and to use their financial power to ensure that  blacklisting is abolished,  direct employment is made mandatory and that health and safety is given ever greater priority."

Tags: , blacklisting, parliament uk, health and safety, trade union freedom, parliament scotland, assembly wales, assembly northern ireland