Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Fresh trawl of blacklist sought

Transport and offshore workers have been included on a secret blacklist of thousands of mainly construction staff which may have "blighted" their careers, it has been claimed.

Unions are pursuing legal action on behalf of their members in a bid to win them compensation as a result of the scandal, with a High Court hearing due in April.

The secret file was discovered during a raid by the Information Commissioner's Office in 2009 on the Consulting Association, which compiled a list of over 3,200 workers on behalf of construction firms.

Most of the names involved building workers, although it emerged this year that environmental campaigners - and comedian Mark Thomas - were also included.

Sources have told the Press Association that the name of a train driver has now been found on the blacklist.

The Rail Maritime and Transport union called on the Information Commissioner to launch a fresh trawl of the records to establish how many people outside the construction industry have also been blacklisted.

General secretary Bob Crow said: "RMT has every reason to believe that there are many more names on the blacklisting files that are still being held under wraps and that includes workers in both the rail and offshore industries.

"Until the full facts are disclosed we simply do not know how many of our members have had their lives and careers blighted by a political and industrial conspiracy at the very highest level.

"RMT also believes that whole blacklisting scandal was kicked off in the industrial climate in the early '70s which also saw the jailing of the Shrewsbury pickets.

"Their case is intertwined with the blacklisting outrage and trade unions will not rest until every single worker caught up in the conspiracy receives justice."

The GMB, Unite and Ucatt are taking legal action on behalf of construction workers, many of whom fear they have been denied employment because their names were on the list.

A group of construction firms announced in October that they were setting up a scheme to compensate workers whose names were on the blacklist, although no money will be paid out until next year.

Maria Ludkin, legal officer of the GMB said: "GMB is keeping lines of communication open with the compensation scheme, and no doubt if they have a serious offer to make we will engage in serious talks.

"In the meantime all of our cases are progressing in the High Court and we look forward to engaging with the construction companies then."

Law firm Guney, Clark & Ryan is also taking legal action on behalf of workers.

Unions have called for a Leveson-style inquiry into the blacklisting of so many workers, sometimes for merely raising health and safety concerns on building sites.


From Belfast Telegraph