Blacklisting – “At last the truth is coming out”

by - 5th March 2012, 7.00 BST

Scores of construction workers whose lives have been blighted by the scourge of blacklisting have welcomed a report suggesting collusion between the police and a company at the heart of the decades-long practice.

“At last the truth is coming out,” said the Blacklist Support Group, which is campaigning to bring to justice the major employers who used the services of the Consulting Association to compile information about the trade union and health and safety activity of hundreds of people.

Roy Bentham (pictured, negotiating access with police for rank and file Sparks march, London Nov 2011) who is one of the dozens of workers included in a class action case being taken against the employers, told UnionNews: “It’s frankly pretty shocking.

“We didn’t expect this. But it’s great now that it’s out in public, showing the lengths the authorities have gone to, to blacklist trade union activists.”

Following a report yesterday in The Observer the Labour MP John McDonnell has called for a parliamentary investigation into claims that police and the UK security services assisted in the compilation of an illegal blacklist of trade unionists and safety campaigners, who were denied work and have endured long term unemployment due to the blacklist operated by the Consulting Association.

Brian Higgins, a blacklisted bricklayer and spokesperson for the Blacklist Support Group said: “Even Rupert Murdoch apologised and offered compensation to victims of phone hacking by his paper and assured everyone hacking is over.

“But these construction companies have offered and given nothing but more of the same.

“The Consulting Association blacklist only ceased operation because they got caught. The blacklisting still continues today: workers were dismissed from the Olympics because of the blacklist and many more denied work on the project.”

Campaigners are pursuing legal action in the UK and European courts.

Part of their case is based on hundreds of files revealed by the Information Commissioners Office.

Campaigners say ICO documents and evidence at Employment Tribunals prove the involvement of companies at director level.

The legal firm taking up the class action has served formal letters on the companies involved and court hearings are expected later this year.