Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/698/13342
Building bosses and their blacklist
For years, many builders suspected that contractors operated a 'blacklist' of troublemakers to ensure they did not end up with any union activists on their sites. Most people thought that if this existed, it was a word of mouth network between sub-contractors.
However, last year the Information Commissioner's Office raided the offices of Consulting Association in the West Midlands and found an actual, handwritten blacklist with index cards on any builder suspected of being a red/troublemaker.
The list of companies who paid £3,000 a pop to check any potential applicants against this list included; Kier, Macalpine. Balfour Beatty, Amec, Carillion, Skanska, Taylor Woodrow, Lovell, Laing, Mowlem, Wimpey, Wilmot Dixon, Costain and 29 others, just in construction.
I discovered I was on this blacklist too, and I've never been a builder, I can't even put up a shelf! I'm guilty by mere association with some builder friends.
Given the companies that subscribed to this secret, illegal list, it is quite worrying. My entry was amateurish with a private eye's account of my movements at an anti-National Front demo and three cuttings from the Socialist newspaper, and they still managed to file me as an SWP member!
So, I'm on a blacklist because I knew some builders and am a socialist. Where does it end? With you?
In The Socialist 14 December 2011:
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party reviews
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis