Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Midlands TUC day of action against blacklisting

No more blacklisting roundelThe TUC is holding a national day of action against blacklisting on Wednesday 20 November with demonstrations against blacklisting to be held outside the offices of Sir Robert McAlpine, Paradise Street, Birmingham, B1 2BJ from 9.30 a.m. to 10.00 a.m; and Carillion Plc, Birch Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 4HY from 11.00 a.m. to noon.

Protests against blacklisting will be held around the UK, and the TUC – along with the construction unions GMB, UCATT and Unite – will hold a lobby of Parliament to call for justice for construction workers who were illegally targeted because of their union activities or for pushing for better health and safety on building sites.

For more than 20 years employers in the construction industry used secret files to vet new recruits and keep union and health and safety activists out of work. This blacklisting was discovered in March 2009 when the Information Commissioner’s Office raided the offices of the Consulting Association and found a list containing the details of 3,213 building workers, which had been used by more than 40 construction companies around the UK.

More than four and a half years later most of these construction workers are still unaware they have been blacklisted as they have not been contacted, nor has a penny been paid to any of the victims.

The TUC and unions are unhappy that companies which have blacklisted workers have still not been held accountable and want a Leveson-style inquiry into the practice.

Joe Morgan, GMB Birmingham & West Midlands Regional Secretary said: “Workers who were placed on this list were denied work through no fault of their own. They have been deprived of an honest living through these illegal tactics and have been the victims of injustice over many years by multi-national companies.”
“Not a single company has yet been punished nor have any of them paid out compensation. We need to fight for the suffering these victims have gone through and give them back the jobs that were wrongly taken from them.”
“Many of these workers have spent years out of work, we want a guarantee that jobs will be offered to them on any up and coming major construction projects.”

Cheryl Pidgeon, Midlands Regional Secretary for Ucatt said,

“UCATT is campaigning for a public inquiry into the blacklisting scandal and for the ICO to directly notify all persons listed on The Consulting Association blacklist files, in the same way victims were notified in the newspaper phone hacking scandal. Companies guilty of blacklisting must be barred from tendering for publicly procured contracts and compensation must be paid retrospectively to all victims of blacklisting for loss of earnings. The existing blacklisting regulations offer no protection.  It must be a criminal offense to supply, compile, solicit or use information in connection with a prohibited list.  The blacklisting of workers must no longer be part of our society.”

Gerard Coyne, Regional Secretary of Unite the union said,
The aim of the day of action is to get the industry to Own Up, Clean Up, Pay Up!

The companies involved must ‘Own Up’ and accept responsibility for what they have done in the past.
They also need to ‘Clean Up’ and ensure that it does not happen again by having transparent recruitment procedures that are agreed with trade unions and properly monitored.
Then they must ‘Pay Up’ and compensate all those who have suffered as a result of their actions. Many of those who were blacklisted were unable to work in the industry again had years of unemployment. They deserve compensation.”

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