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London election candidate named in employers blacklist - Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition calls for ban on blacklisters from public sector contracts

Responding to reports in The Observer (‘Police linked to blacklist of construction workers’, 4 March 2012)(1) that security services 'gave data to a clandestine organisation funded by major names in building industry' and compiled a secret 'blacklist' file on Professor Charles Woolfson who researched health and safety on oil rigs, the Trades Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC)(2) today calls for firms that used information to blacklist trade unionists and academics, to be banned from public sector contracts. (3)

David Clancy, investigations manager at the Information Commissioner's Office told an employment tribunal he believed that some of the information in the files used to blacklist workers "could only be supplied by the police or the security services".

Steve Hedley, a candidate for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in the GLA election, who was one of those named in the Consulting Association's files and suffered four years without permanent employment, said:

“Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidates standing in the GLA elections pledge that if we are elected in May we will oppose public contracts being signed with blacklisters by the London Mayor or any of his officials and will demand that all public bodies under the GLA enforce mandatory disclosure on data compiled by commercial contractors (or by the public bodies themselves) into lawful trade union and political activities of their employees.

He added

“It smacks of a sort of police state, almost with the police colluding with the employers to blacklist the trade unionists. Some of the people on that blacklist are just ordinary health and safety reps. You just wonder how far this goes."

RMT President, Alex Gordon who is TUSC lead candidate in the GLA elections, said:

“Trade unionists have known for decades, that shadowy organisations with links to police and security services colluded with bosses of some of Britain’s biggest companies to deprive workers of a livelihood, by operating illegal blacklists. It now emerges that the practice also spread to blacklisting professors carrying out research into the worst industrial disaster in the history of the UK oil and gas industry.

He added

“Blacklisting trade unionists is the new McCarthyism. TUSC candidates will fight to expose it, end it and win justice for those who have been its victims. There must be a full public enquiry into the activities of the Consulting Association and Britain’s rotten corporate culture of blacklisting as a matter of public interest.”


For more Will McMahon 07968 950 223

Notes for editors

(1)Police are linked to blacklist of construction workers

(2) The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition stands in opposition to public spending cuts and privatisation, calls for investment in public services and public ownership and control of the major utilities, the repeal of the anti-trade union laws. For more information see: http://www.tusc.org.uk/

In London TUSC is standing only in the London-wide list section for the London Assembly Elections. It is not contesting for mayor or in the constituency section.

(3)The Information Commissioner has obtained a blacklist of 3,200 names, as well as invoices showing 44 construction firms including Sir Robert McAlpine, Balfour Beatty, Costain and Skanska Construction, used services of a clandestine organisation called the Consulting Association.