04 October 2013
The TUC has announced a day of action next month to protest against blacklisting practices and the companies which used them to lock out trade unionists from the construction industry.
The Own Up! Pay Up! Clean Up! campaign will see protestors hold at Lobby of Parliament on Wednesday November 20 2013 to call for a full inquiry into an abhorrent corporate practice that has ruined lives for decades, and which may still be going on.
In 2009, widespread blacklisting of trade union members in the construction industry was revealed when the Information Commissioners’ Officer raided The Consulting Association (TCA) – an organisation funded by a group of powerful construction companies and run by a man named Ian Kerr. Despite strong evidence that the firms in the industry had conspired together to lock out workers from the sector for ‘troublesome’ behaviour (such as raising health and safety concerns), blacklisting was not against the law, so Kerr received a fine for breaking Data Protection Laws and no one else received punishment. It was later claimed in the Scottish Affairs Committee’s ongoing inquiry into blacklisting that Sir Robert McAlpine had paid Kerr’s fine.
Cases are now going through the courts in which workers who have had their livelihoods torn apart by blacklisting are attempting to claim compensation, but the companies involved are far from repentant, indeed they are fighting these cases tooth and nail. Of the 3,213 workers known to have been blacklisted by TCA, most have not been contacted and are unaware of their position, and not one person has yet received compensation.
The TUC’s day of action, which was jointly organised by GMB, Unite, UCATT and the Blacklist Support Group aims to make the companies involved in blacklisting – over 40 have been named so far – to accept their responsibility to the workers whose lives they have ruined and compensate them fairly, as well as ensuring that practices like these are never allowed to happen again. To achieve this, the organisations behind the day of action are calling for a full inquiry into the matter, similar to the Leveson Inquiry into the behaviour of the press following the phone hacking scandal.
People wishing to take part should meet at 13:00 opposite the Houses of Parliament on Old Palace Yard and click here for more details.