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From The Socialist newspaper, 15 October 2013

Blacklisting victory - now build union strength

Neil Cafferky

It was a full house on Saturday night, 12 October, in the Bread and Roses pub in London, for a noisy celebration by construction workers and their allies from the labour movement.

The occasion was a victory party for Frank Morris, a victimised Unite rep on the Crossrail project.

After an epic 12-month battle against a multi-billion pound construction consortium, BAM-Ferrovial-Kier (BFK), Frank and the union won a total victory.

Frank is now back at work and Unite have full union recognition on Europe's largest construction project.

Frank's campaign was the most high profile example of blacklisting in the construction industry. It came on the back of revelations that top construction firms like BFK, McAlpine, Skanska, O'Rourke and many more were deeply implicated in the funding of a blacklist run by the now defunct Consulting Association.

Despite the euphoria on the night, everyone at the Bread and Roses was well aware that the fight against blacklisting in the construction industry is far from over.

On Friday 11 October an important Employment Appeals Tribunal finished its hearing. The case has been brought by leading anti-blacklist campaigner Dave Smith and argues that blacklisting is a breach of human rights.

The judgement has yet to be released but a victory for Dave Smith will have important implications for workers' rights, acting to strengthen legal protection for workers.

Through sustained campaigning from the Blacklist Support Group, as well as the effect of Frank Morris's victory, the leading culprits in the blacklist scandal have announced plans for a compensation scheme.

In a press release, Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O'Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska and Vinci all "apologise for their involvement with the Consulting Association and the impact its database may have had on any individual construction worker".

Now there is the wider issue of police collusion with the Consulting Association. This raises serious questions about the role of the state in disrupting trade union organisation.

And equally important for the labour movement is clearing out any trade union officials who have been working hand in glove with the blacklisters.

The blacklisting campaign still has work to do. The key task is to use the string of victories to build effective union organisation on the sites with democratic control of reps and branches by the rank and file.

An important demand must be union monitoring of hiring practices to ensure any blacklisting can be quickly exposed.

This remains the strongest defence against victimisation and blacklisting.

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In The Socialist 15 October 2013:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Tories' rags and riches Britain; Join the socialist fightback!

Teachers, firefighters, workers fighting back: Unite the strikes!

TUSC: 2014 local elections campaign launched

Immigration Bill: Whipping up racism to cut our services

Council tax benefit cuts hit hard

SSE: So Sodding Expensive!

Fight Tory plans to scrap lifeline for young

Jobcentre staff struggling to cope

'Help to Buy' no solution to housing crisis

Them & Us


Anti-racism

Robinson drops EDL but not his bigotry

Trade union-led anti-racist demo in Liverpool

Bradford anti-EDL protest


Education feature

Why are our schools in crisis?


International socialist news and analysis

Workers and youth re-assert their political voice in South Africa

Sri Lanka - 'No to Chogm' campaign

Refugees perish in Mediterranean "cemetery"


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Join the party for the millions - not the millionaires

Socialism 2013 appeal

Save Kent's children's centres


Socialist Party workplace news

Probation officers to take on 'failing Grayling'

Time for national action on education

Fight the Royal Mail sell-off

Blacklisting victory - now build union strength

Workplace news In Brief


 

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