The MP for Bristol East has backed calls to stop the blacklisting of workers and for a full investigation of blacklisting allegations, including in relation to major public projects such as Crossrail and the Olympic Park.
Secret files on thousands of workers in the construction sector resulted in people being denied employment and their livelihoods after raising legitimate health and safety concerns or exercising their human right to belong to a trade union, and were used by more than 40 of the UK’s largest construction firms. Last week, construction firm Balfour Beatty confirmed that it conducted blacklisting checks on individuals seeking work on construction of Olympic venues.
Many of those affected still have no idea that they were included on the secret construction blacklist which was uncovered by the Information Commissioner’s Office in a raid in 2009. Questions remain on why the ICO did not seize other documents found at the scene. Labour has called for the Information Commissioner to adopt a proactive process for informing individual victims of blacklisting so that they can seek compensation.
Recent evidence which has emerged as part of a Scottish Affairs Committee Parliamentary inquiry into blacklisting has brought forward allegations of widespread use of blacklists in relation to major public sector construction projects and that intelligence used to compile blacklists came from police officers and the security services, as well as revealing the existence of a further blacklist of environmental activists.
Kerry McCarthy MP believes the government should examine whether further changes are needed to ensure that appropriate, effective sanctions are in place to tackle and prevent blacklisting. She said: “The blacklisting of construction workers is outrageous. It is unacceptable that workers have been denied employment because they either belong to a trade union or because they have expressed concerns about safety standards. We need to find out the extent blacklisting takes place in the construction industry and which major public sector construction projects have been affected. Labour is urging the Government to take action on this issue and I will be pushing Ministers to full investigate blacklisting to ensure this unfair and immoral practice does not continue.”