Members of the Blacklist Support Group say they are delighted their campaign has received national recognition, despite not winning Liberty’s Human Rights Campaigner of the Year Award.
The group, which was nominated for “its steadfast support of construction workers who have been denied their livelihoods by being on a blacklist by employers”, was up against the Open Rights Group, Change.org and 38 Degrees.
The joint winners were the Open Rights Group and 38 Degrees.
Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti said: “Liberty is honoured to be celebrating the inspiring achievements of our nominees, every one of whom is to be commended for the real impact their work has had in safeguarding rights and liberties.
“In this climate of secret courts and Snoopers’ Charters and amidst continuing attacks upon the Human Rights Act, it is more important than ever that their efforts are awarded the recognition that they so deserve.”
BSG member Dave Smith told UnionNews although he was disappointed not to win, he felt privileged to have been nominated.
He said: “We’re humbled to be in the presence of greatness. Just to be in the same room as the Hillsborough family campaigners [who won the Human Rights 'Long Walk' Award] was impressive. To be here with people supporting the fight for civil liberties and human rights is absolutely fabulous. Just to be nominated is a step in the right direction.”
Fellow member Steve Kelly added: “It’s absolutely fantastic to be here – hopefully we’ll win it next year.”
And Frank Morris, who was blacklisted after the Olympics, said: “The fight goes on. None of the workers who have been blacklisted have got jobs – the fight goes on until we get justice.”
The awards were a star-studded affair, hosted by Sandi Toskvig and with appearances by Benedict Cumberbatch, Rowan Atkinson and Emile Sande.
In the last year, the BSG has secured a House of Commons investigation into the extent of blacklisting in the construction industry and has played a key role in preparations for a class action legal case seeking compensation for some of the victims of blacklisting.
The group has also helped co-ordinate efforts to persuade the information watchdog to release full details of the extent of unlawful surveillance of trade union members carried out by the notorious Consulting Association dating back to the 1980s.