25 October 2013
A former senior executive at ACAS has been implicated in the blacklisting scandal following new evidence sent in a letter to the Scottish Affairs Committee (SAC) by the Information Commissioners’ Office (ICO).
The document, addressed to SAC Chair Ian Davidson and signed by ICO Deputy Commissioner David Smith, confirmed the existence of a third blacklist separate to The Consulting Association (TCA) and Economic League lists.
Around 500 names of what are expected to be individual construction workers are confirmed to be on documents held by the ICO, including “faxes to and from Hayden Young Limited”, which is now Balfour Beatty Engineering Services.
In November 2012, former senior manager at Hayden Young, Carillion and EMCOR Alan Wainwright told SAC that senior labour managers at EMCOR received a list of names from EMCOR Personnel Director Sheila Knight in August 2000. Before working for EMCOR, Knight held the role of Deputy Director of ACAS and she now earns her income by providing workshops and consultancy services to Human Resources Managers.
Whistleblower Wainwright stated the list contained the names of individuals working on the Pfizers, Royal Opera House and Jubilee Line projects. This has been corroborated by the ICO, which said it has a “small sample of names and national insurance numbers of individual construction workers on what are termed the Pfizers, Royal Opera House and Jubilee Line lists”. This supporting evidence further implicates Knight’s involvement.
Furthermore, it appears the “Sheila Knight” blacklist, as it has been nicknamed by the Blacklist Support Group, may have still been in use as recently as last year and indeed may continue to have an influence on the industry. The name and personal details of Frank Morris, the UNITE shop steward who was recently reinstated in his role at the Crossrail Project after the union argued his dismissal in September 2012 was due to blacklisting, was found on the new list. The addition of his name onto the list dated back to a period in which he worked on the Jubilee Line Extension while Sheila Knight still held the role of Personnel Director at EMCOR.
The Blacklist Support Group has also questioned the reliability of the ICO in its role within the policing of blacklisting. The information watchdog failed to speak out about the third blacklist until now, and last year admitted to SAC that it had only ever seized 5% of the paperwork found in its 2009 raid of the TCA. Evidence left behind was later destroyed.
Co-Chair of the Blacklist Support Group Steve Kelly, who himself is a blacklisted electrician and shop steward, said: “Blacklisted 3 times; more personal information, more spying, more police collusion, more investigating us and our families. Where will this all end? … Enough is enough, no more pussy footing around, we demand a public inquiry now! We demand jobs on building sites!”