20 November: Day of action against blacklisting. Make the culprits Own Up! Pay Up! Clean Up!
For over 20 years, employers in the construction industry used secret files to vet new recruits and keep out trade union and health and safety activists.
This blacklisting came to light when in March 2009 when the Information Commissioner's Office raided the offices of the Consulting Association and exposed the existence of a blacklist containing the details of 3,213 construction workers. They also found that the blacklist had been used by over 40 UK construction companies.
It is four and a half years since 44 construction companies were exposed as blacklisters following a raid on the Consulting Association by the Information Commissioner. The raid followed a tip off two years earlier than the company had been keeping secret files illegally for over 16 years. Yet even now, most of the 3,213 blacklisted construction workers and environmentalists are still unaware they have been blacklisted as they have not been contacted. Nor has a penny been paid to any of the victims.
That is why the TUC, along with the GMB, UCATT and Unite unions, and the Blacklist Support Group, is calling for a Day of Action against Blacklisting. This will be held on 20 November.
The aim is to get the industry to "Own Up, Clean Up, Pay Up"!
The companies involved need to Own Up and accept responsibility for what they have done in the past,
They also need to Clean UP and ensure that it does not happen again by having transparent recruitment procedures that are agreed with trade unions and properly monitored
Then they must Pay Up and compensate all those who have suffered as a result of their actions. Many of those who were blacklisted were unable to work in the industry again had years of unemployment. They deserve compensation.
Although eight of the forty-four companies involved have agreed to apologise and set up a scheme to compensate some of the workers, this only goes a part of the way towards ensuring justice for the workers and also preventing any repeat of the scandal.
The TUC and the unions working in construction want a full public inquiry into the blacklisting scandal along the lines of the Leveson Inquiry into press behaviour.
Only by taking strong action now can we ensure that there is no repeat of this disgraceful affair and that no further lives are ruined by the unscrupulous behaviour of unprincipled employers.
Actions for 20 November
As part of the day of Action, there will be a Lobby of Parliament on 20 November 2013, to put pressure on MPs to hold an inquiry. Assemble on Old Palace Yard opposite the Houses of Parliament at 13:00. This will be followed by a meeting inside Parliament starting at 14:00
The Wales TUC are holding an event at the Senedd in Cardiff at 12:00 in the day, while in Edinburgh the Scottish TUC will be protesting outside Holyrood at 12:00 followed by a film show.
There will also be other events held around the country. The Blacklist Support Group are holding an protest outside Manchester Town Hall at 7:15 am. In London there is a protest at 7:00am at the Cheesegrater, Leadenhall St, City of London (opposite Lloyds Building) followed by another at 10:00am outside the Francis Crick Medical Research Centre, Kings Cross (behind the British Library). In Liverpool there is an event outside Alder Hey Hospital at 6:45am.
For details of other activities and news around blacklisting see:
Blacklist support group blog http://www.hazards.org/blacklistblog
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