Day of action in campaign for justice for blacklisted workers.

By agency reporter
December 6, 2017

Members of Unite trade union working in the construction industry will be lobbying Parliament on Wednesday 6 December 2017 as part of a nationwide day of action, in the ongoing campaign for justice for blacklisted workers.

Members will lobby their MPs and attend a meeting in Parliament where they will be addressed by leading Labour MPs including John McDonnell, Jonathan Ashworth, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Louise Haigh.

Unite is also holding protests on the same day at the sites of companies involved in construction blacklisting throughout the UK, including Birmingham, Brighton, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Manchester and Nottingham.

The lobby of Parliament and day of action has been called as part of the union's continuing campaign for justice for blacklisted workers. Unite is calling for:

  •    A full public inquiry into blacklisting
  •    For blacklisting to become a criminal offence
  •    For companies caught blacklisting to be barred from bidding for public sector contracts.


The union is campaigning for justice for workers who were historically blacklisted via the Consulting Association and for workers who have been victims of contemporary blacklisting. 

This week, Unite announced that it had launched new high court proceedings to bring the ‘controlling minds’ behind the systematic blacklisting of workers to justice.

Unite Assistant General Secretary Gail Cartmail said, “The disgusting practice of blacklisting has not disappeared. Blacklisting will not be stamped out until the government brings in effective laws. Unite are uncovering fresh cases of contemporary blacklisting which demonstrates why urgent action is needed to end blacklisting once and for all.

“It is simply outrageous that companies who have been caught blacklisting and have ruined the lives of construction workers, have escaped virtually scot free and continue to be rewarded with public sector contracts.

“Unite will leave no stone unturned in our fight for justice for blacklisted workers and will use every avenue open to us; be it industrial, political or legal to win justice for our members.”

Unite Assistant General Secretary Howard Beckett said,“ It is simply unacceptable that those companies guilty of blacklisting continue to benefit from public procurement and simply beyond reason that those individuals who gave the instructions for the blacklist to be created remain at the top of the companies concerned and have not been subject to any discipline proceedings whatsoever.

“If our members arrive late for work they are subject to discipline. The greedy bosses place trade unionists on blacklists, cost their companies millions of pounds in legal costs and damages and get away without sanction.

“They think they live by different rules than the rest of us, well it is not acceptable and this is why Unite continue the legal fight for justice to see individuals who are responsible answer to a court of law.”

The Consulting Association was formed from the collapse of the Economic League in 1993 and was involved in blacklisting 3,213 construction workers. It was closed down following a raid of its premises in 2009 by the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Howard Beckett said, “Since 2009 the individuals who were the controlling minds behind the systematic blacklisting of workers have sought to avoid taking responsibility for their actions. The workers who had their lives ruined deserve to see the leading blacklisters in court."

Unite is taking the case for unlawful conspiracy against four former chairmen of the Consulting Association. Cullum McAlpine and David Cochrane were the first and last chairmen of the Consulting Association both of whom were employed by Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd. Danny O’Sullivan was employed by Kier Ltd and Stephen Quant was an employee of Skanska UK PLC.

The action against the four leading blacklisters is part of a wider case being brought by Unite on behalf of over 70 construction workers who were blacklisted by the Consulting Association. As well as unlawful conspiracy these cases are for breach of privacy, defamation and for Data Protection Act offences.

As part of the legal action proceedings have also been issued against: Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd, Skanska UK Plc, Laing Limited, John Laing Construction Ltd, Kier Ltd, Balfour Beatty Kilpatrick Ltd, Balfour Beatty Construction Ltd, Crown House Technologies Ltd, Costain Building & Civil Engineering Ltd, Costain Ltd, Costain Oil Gas & Process Ltd and Carillion Construction Ltd.

* Unite http://www.unitetheunion.org/

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