Police blacklisting admission could lead to fresh legal action

By agency reporter
March 27, 2018

Unite, the UK’s largest union, is considering whether to launch further legal action on behalf of its members who were blacklisted, following the admission by the Metropolitan Police (on 23 March 2018) that police officers supplied information which appeared in the files of blacklisting victims.

Unite has launched High Court action on behalf of over 70 members who were blacklisted by the Consulting Association. These cases are for breach of privacy, defamation and for Data Protection Act offences.

The Consulting Association was formed in 1993 following the demise of the Economic League, and blacklisted construction workers until 2009, when it was closed down following a raid by the Information Commissioners Office. A total of 3,213 workers were found to have been blacklisted by the Consulting Association.

In light of the police’s admission that they were involved in providing information used to blacklist workers, Unite will be investigating whether it is appropriate to pursue the police in legal action, and because of the Metropolitan Police’s admission of colluding with blacklisters, the union has also renewed its call for a full public inquiry into blacklisting.

There are also serious concerns that the Metropolitan Police concluded in 2016 that their officers had been involved in passing on information used to blacklist workers, but suppressed their admission of guilt for two years. This meant the information was not available during the previous High Court case which concluded in 2016, with hundreds of blacklisted workers receiving substantial compensation for having their lives ruined.

Unite Assistant General Secretary Howard Beckett said, “The latest revelations which have confirmed that the police were both actively spying on construction workers and feeding that information to blacklisters potentially has major implications for blacklisting legal cases.

“Unite will be urgently consulting with our legal experts to identify exactly how we can take appropriate legal action on behalf of our members whose lives were ruined due to the activities of the police.”

Unite Assistant General Secretary Gail Cartmail said: “This is a major breakthrough, the police have finally been forced to admit what we already knew, that they were knowingly and actively involved in the blacklisting of construction workers. It is disgraceful that they have chosen to sit on this admission of guilt for so long.

 “This admission is yet another reason why we need a full public inquiry into blacklisting. It is also why it is absolutely essential that the inquiry into undercover policing led by Judge Mittings is entirely transparent. That inquiry’s primary focus must be about exposing the abuses that undercover police officers were responsible for, rather than protecting the identities of the police officers involved.”

* Unite http://www.unitetheunion.org/default.aspx


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