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Unions plan blacklist day of action

9 Sep 13 The trades union movement is planning a national day of action against blacklisting on Wednesday 20 November 2013.

Protests will be held up and down the country and there will be lobby of Parliament in London. The aim is to get the constrcution industry to “Own Up, Clean Up, Pay Up”.

The plan was announced yesterday at the Trades Union Congress (TUC) annual conference.

The TUC and unions want a government-backed independent inquiry into the use of blacklists.

They are calling for:

  • A judge-led inquiry into blacklisting
  • All companies to be asked if they have ever complied, used, sold or supplied information that could be used for blacklisting
  • Companies that refuse to comply or apologise and compensate victims if they have engaged in blacklisting to be barred from bidding for any public sector contracts.
  • Blacklisting to be made a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment and an unlimited fine.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: “There is a clear need for a Leveson-style inquiry into blacklisting to make sure it is stamped out once and for all. It is essential that companies who have blacklisted workers own up, clean up and pay up.

“Blacklisting is a shameful practice that has no place in a modern society. It causes misery for those blacklisted and their families and it puts lives at risk. It is scandalous that so many people's livelihoods have been ruined or put at risk just for raising health and safety concerns.

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“The government cannot sit on the fence any longer. Blacklisting must be made a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment and an unlimited fine.”

The TUC debated the issue yesterday (Sunday). Among the speakers was Ucatt member Bill Parr,y who was on the Consulting Association blacklist. He said: “I want justice for every single person who was blacklisted. And we need to ensure that blacklisting never happens again. In construction or any other industry. What is truly sickening is the hollow crocodile tears from the construction companies who have said they are sorry. Companies who only stopped blacklisting because they were found out, who are only sorry they were caught. But who haven’t offered a penny in compensation to blacklisted victims. Those blacklisting companies should be denied public sector contracts until they pay compensation to their victims.”

Ucatt general secretary Steve Murphy said: “Construction companies have got to realise that there is no place to hide. Their blacklisting crimes will not go away. The blacklisted workers need to know the full truth including the state’s involvement in blacklisting.”

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: "Unite is 100 per cent behind the TUC day of action against blacklisting and we will be urging our activists to take part to demand that the blacklisters own up, clean up and pay up.

"The burden of proof weighs heavily on workers who find themselves blacklisted and even where there is compelling evidence this is met with denial. Across construction there remains a staggering complacency, which must change.

"Unite firmly believes blacklisting continues and we need politicians to act. The only way to consign this morally indefensible practice to the history books is to strengthen legislation against blacklisting to give the law real teeth."

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