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Exposed - the dirty world of the construction blacklist
A London Employment Tribunal has found that engineer Dave Smith had been blacklisted by Carillion (JM) Limited and Schal International Limited (a wholly owned subsidiary of Carillion) because he raised concerns about asbestos on building sites and because of his trade union activities. The firms actually admitted that their managers had supplied the malicious information in a signed statement to the court.
But shockingly because Dave had been employed through an employment agency, UK employment law does not protect him or millions of other agency workers. So the multi-national construction firms won the tribunal on this legal technicality.
During the tribunal a blacklist file collated by the Consulting Association was presented as evidence and contained many details about Dave and how he had complained about issues like asbestos or poor toilet facilities on building sites. The file was covertly shared among the 44 largest construction firms in the UK.
This is almost certain to become a key element in a larger "class action" style claim being brought to the High Court by 100 blacklisted workers in the next few months.
Ex-police officer Dave Clancy is the Head of the Investigations Team at the Information Commissioners Office, the man who led the raid on the Consulting Association premises and discovered the blacklist. He said in the hearing under oath: "There is information on the Consulting Association files that I believe could only be supplied by the police or the security services". He also told the court that the Consulting Association held information on elected politicians, journalists, lawyers and academics.
Labour MP John McDonnell said after hearing these revelations: "I am calling upon the government to launch a public inquiry into the full extent and impact on people's lives of blacklisting. These revelations are truly shocking and warrant a detailed and open, public investigation."
In The Socialist 25 January 2012:
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news