Blacklisting – MPs begin first investigation

by - 22nd May 2012, 10.00 GMT

The Glasgow South-west MP, Ian Davidson is asking trade union activists to provide information to hearings beginning this afternoon into the practice of blacklisting in Scotland.

It is known that the names of people held unlawfully by the now-defunct Consulting Association blacklist extended well beyond the confines of the construction industry, which was the focus of a major investigation in 2009.

Ian Davidson – who chairs the Scottish Affairs Committee at Westminster – told UnionNews: “There are all sorts of allegations flying around, but what we really need to find is a smoking gun, to show us who’s doing it and who’s been penalised as a result of being blacklisted.”

Recent revelations indicate that ‘blacklist files’ were held on trade union activists in the rail and transport industries, offshore oil and gas workers, teachers who had taken part in anti-racist demonstrations, as well as journalists and academics who wrote about, or did research work into blacklisting or safety issues.

Ian Davidson also intends to use the hearings to investigate whether Members of the Scottish Parliament were also targeted.

The opening session of the inquiry on Tuesday afternoon will hear from the former MP, Maria Fyfe, who worked with anti-blacklisting groups in the past.

Said Ian Davidson: “We hope Maria will give us the background to all this, help us set the issue into the context of Scotland and identify what links there are between any employers north of the border, in the offshore industries for example, and those in the rest of the UK who are known to have used the services of the Consulting Association.”

The investigation is expected to continue beyond the summer recess and is likely to issue its findings in the autumn.

A number of MPs and trade unions have called for an independent inquiry into claims that the Consulting Association may have received information unlawfully from the police or other state agencies before it was ordered closed in 2009.