Blacklisting – bosses stopping working people from working because of their views is wrong. So this week I called a debate in Parliament to expose it.
In Nottingham and elsewhere workers have been blacklisted for raising legitimate health and safety concerns, or being a member of a trade union. Workers and their families suffer discrimination, unemployment, poverty, family breakdown, mental breakdown, and in extreme cases, suicide.
The process of blacklisting trade union members goes far back, at least to 1919 and has taken many forms, including the infamous Economic League and more recently the Consulting Association with its blacklist of 3,200 mainly construction workers. Last year a scandal broke when it was revealed that Mi5 and the police allegedly supplied information to the Consulting Association and they’re being fined.
Some good news has come recently in the form of the Construction Workers Compensation Scheme which is a result of eight companies who have blacklisted workers – Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’ Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI PLC – working together to compensate workers who have been blacklisted. This breakthrough is the result of years of hard work and investigation by my union Unite and the construction workers union, UCATT.
What I said in the debate was that there is more that can be done. There are still firms – 36 in total – who haven’t committed to the compensation scheme. In Wales blacklisting companies can be removed from public contracts. Blacklisting should be a criminal offence and bad companies prosecuted. All 3,213 victims should be notified, apologised to and compensated. All those who work for a living should be properly respected. Hopefully by raising this issue in Parliament this week, this awful stain on the workplace will be removed more quickly.