A CALL for a full public inquiry into the blacklisting of construction workers has been strengthened following new evidence uncovered by construction union, Unite.
The evidence is said to demonstrate that the police and security services were involved in the blacklisting of construction workers on an ‘industrial scale’.
The 2009 blacklisting scandal
The blacklisting scandal came to light following a raid by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) on the Consulting Association. The investigation uncovered a list of more than 3,000 blacklisted workers, some records including health and asfety complaints, personal relationships, political activity and trade union links on building sites. Eight of the firms that used the list: Carillion, Balfour Beatty, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and Vinci, were sued by workers.
As a result of the scandal, 700 workers shared £75m in settlement compensation – with others having earlier settlements of smaller amounts.
As part of the public inquiry into undercover policing, the ‘Creedon Report into Operation Reuben’ was released to the Blacklist Support Group, which has core participant status in that inquiry.
The Creedon Report reveals:
- Police, including special branches and the security services supplied information to the blacklist funded by the UK’s major construction firms, The Consulting Association
- Special branches throughout the UK had direct contact with the Economic League, am anti-left-wing political group
- The Metropolitan Police Special Branch Industrial Unit spied on union members “from teaching, to the docks, attending conferences, and protests personally, and also developing well placed confidential contacts”
- Undercover police officer Mark Jenner, who infiltrated the construction union, Ucatt, gathered intelligence on “over 300 individuals”
- Police sharing information with big business and other bodies about prospective employees continues to this day through the Industrial Liaison Section within the National Domestic Extremism Unit.
Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “Ten years after the blacklisting scandal was first revealed, new information is still being unearthed. These documents expose that the police were working hand in glove with the blacklisters for decades.
“It is becoming clear that we will not get full transparency about the scandal until there is a public inquiry. The government’s refusal to order an inquiry is becoming increasingly untenable.”
Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett added: “The blacklisting of construction workers by the police is nothing short of criminal. The revelations demonstrate that this was not a one-off, or the actions of a rogue individual, but that there was collusion between the blacklisters and the police on an industrial scale for decades.
“Workers and trade unionists will be alarmed at these revelations and there needs to be strict legal measures introduced to ensure that police collusion into blacklisting can never reoccur.”